Sleep

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Two strikes against me: I am lazy and it looks like I might die before I “should”. And all because of nature, it’s all her fault! 🙂

The particular state that apparently contributes to the moral judgement and potential demise described above is sleep. Yes, that brother of Death, but different from coma, anesthesia or hybernation. Sleep itself is poorly understood (we know it’s essential but that’s pretty much it), subject of much research (so that we might have an idea as to why it’s essential), a huge source of money and suffering and, of course, the best place for dreams.

The laziness comes from a mere accident of history. The civilized world we live in has been set up by and for the benefit of early risers, which I am so NOT! Which meant that I spent almost a lifetime being sleep deprived. I will assume that I slept enough as a child and on school holidays/weekends. I definitely tried! 🙂 But in our world of 8 am starts which means a 6.30 to 7 wake up time so that you can have breakfast and walk to whereever you need to be, I accummulated a lot of sleep debt. And, of course, I am considered lazy as you cannot get much sense out of me before 9 or 10 am.

But wait, there’s more! I also tend to sleep longer than the 7-9 hours considered normal for a healthy adult. If allowed I average 10-12 hours. Lazy, much? I could be told so, if someone could actually stop me during my awake period 🙂 Apparently this longer sleeping preference could increase the chances that I die earlier… although we mostly don’t know why and no studies that I know of have managed to account for such factors as depression, cancer and other fatigue-inducing illnesses. So I will ignore this until such time as we know more.

I love to sleep. I love getting tired knowing that I can then sleep. I anticipate lying down and having a bit of time to just think and create. I used to also indulge in staying as late as I could (sometimes all night) for the sheer pleasure of falling asleep.

It hasn’t always been easy. As a teen my mind used to be so busy I would have trouble falling asleep. I was lucky in that I was reading some combination of fiction – self help books and I found out about meditation, visualization and the rest. I practiced religiously, even when I could see no results, and I would go as far as saying that it saved my life. I use this to sleep to this day, especially when stressed.

Then I had a baby and thought my life was going to be over. You know how you are told of the lack of sleep and how to manage it? Well, I tried to prepare for it, by using meditation and visualization to “command” myself to wake up when needed and fall asleep as soon as I was not needed. It worked, and I am lucky in that I don’t have an early riser 🙂 But having a baby means less time for myself – music, reading, people etc. So, stubborn and self-indulgent person that I am, I tried to push the boundaries: with falling asleep and getting up sorted, I started staying up later and later, with the expected results: fatigue, short attention span, worse memory (it’s merely very good now, down from great) and less creativity. All in all, a big and rapidly increasing sleep debt, with nothing else to give…. but stubbornness and self-indulgence 🙂

So I have given myself a stern talk-to and I started looking forward to stretching out on my bed again… to think, to dream and, who knows, maybe to create.

Night-night!

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