20 January 2007

When I was around 16...

When I was around 16 years old or so, things were a little different. I remember waking up pretty early to go to school, say around 5:30am or so, getting ready, going to school, spending a good portion of the day there, and then spend the rest of the day doing other things. By the time I got to bed it was probably around midnight or a little later.

Hours of sleep per night? Approximately 5.

For most humans this would not be considered enough. However, after another 5 hours worth of sleep I would wake up, pretty tired at first but as the day goes along all exhaustion related problems cease to exist. Of course, this only last for the first four days of the week. Now, the first day of the weekend, which was Wednesday in Bahrain (by US/UK standards that would be a Friday), was a little different. I understand that most of you believe that day is considered, but I beg to differ. Let us just put it the way the teacher in my last class of the day used to say; "The Weekend starts here".

Anyhow, during this day, my bedtime seemed to move from around midnight to around 6 in the morning, meaning me staying awake on that day just a little over 24 hours. I would be able to make up for all of this by sleeping until around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, and stay up all night on the second day of the weekend (first day of the weekend for most of you). Again, a similar routine on the third day of the weekend (or second day for most of you), but I would sleep around midnight this time.

(If the last two paragraphs confused you because of the use of too many numbers, please stop reading my blog. I would appreciate if only the people who can juggle lots of complex information around easily to make use of my writing.)

To sum up the situation, I would deprive myself of sleep on week days, and make it up on weekends. It seemed normal for my body to be able to handle the tiring routine over 5 days, as long as I made it up in the last two. Similar to a camel, that would store enough water over a short while to last it a long time, perhaps? Anyhow, the point of this blog is, I can't do that anymore.

Ten years later, I struggle to keep myself awake past my bedtime if I have to, or wake up early if I haven't had a long enough sleep. The above was just an example of a routine I used to go through. Other interesting things that happened during my school and college life include sleeping for 2 or 3 hours a day during most weekdays, sleeping till 4 or 5 in the afternoon on weekends, not sleeping at all during exam nights and going to the exam the next day in a fully awake state (thank you Red Bull), and on one occasion actually staying up for almost 70 hours in a row (followed by 20 hours of sleep. Damn.)

So why can't I do this anymore? Well, since my return to Boston i've been sleeping really late (ie, 5am) and waking up pretty late too (ie 4pm). Besides the fact that such a routine is not very healthy, Boston in general shuts down around 6pm; so by the time I wake up, take a shower and get ready to go out, most places have closed. Also, theres no more sun (the point about this is when Boston gets dark on a cold winter night, you don't want to be outside).

So I decide, hey, i'll just wake up early the next day. A few alarms and a week later I still didn't manage to wake up earlier than 3pm. So I decide to shift strategies; instead of going to sleep early in the morning, I can just stretch staying awake until around 8pm or so.

Lets just say that by around 9am I was dying. By the afternoon I was pretty much dead. How I actually made it to 5pm, I still don't know. What a horrible day.

I ended up waking up at 2am; everything was dark, it was cold and raining outside, and I was hungry. Not much in the fridge to hold back starvation, so a quick trip to the 24hour supermarket, some croissants, juice and miscellaneous munchies kept me on track. Now with my body used to a specific routine (ie, that of sleeping early morning), I started feeling tired around 9am. Unbelievable. Anyway, I stayed awake and fell asleep around 7pm.

With gradual change, I was able to sleep at around 10pm every day (got to that point 2 days ago, finally), which is a very reasonable time. Now back to the point of this blog; why can't my body handle such quick change any more? Am I really getting THAT old? Is my body getting used to a specific routine as I get older? Or is there some other sort of explaination? Hey, I don't know the answer, but if anyone does, send me an email.

I guess a lot of things have started changing; I get tired more easily, I feel more pain here and there (back pains, etc), my stomache is starting to argue with certain types of food I eat. Dammit. I think I really am getting old. Mid-life crisis at 26.

Oh, and you want to know what the funny thing is? At the time of writing this blog, it's almost 2am.

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