15 August 2013

Sleep is my Friend

So here's the deal; I haven't really been sleeping right as of late. I think multiple reasons, including the fact that I don't have any specific reason to be up early in the morning, a little bit of stress, a little bit of A.D.D, and a lot of being disorganized have led to a totally erratic sleeping pattern. Some nights I sleep for 6 hours, some nights I sleep for 12. The only common factor is that I usually end up waking up past noon, which again, is not really that much of a problem considering that running your own business doesn't require early mornings.

Mentally, and socially, it starts getting to you. Waking up late is great when you get to do it on a weekend, or even on a longer holiday (school summer holidays, especially), and you get to re-energize your body. Doing it on a much longer timespan, say, for years in a row, has other effects; studies show that you tend to get lazier overall - check. Studies show that stress levels seem to increase for people who sleep late - check. Studies show that you experience more headaches and body aches in general - check. Studies show that... Well, it continues.

On a social level, i'm up when everyone else is having their afternoon siesta (a Spanish phrase for an Arab habit), and most active when everyone else goes to sleep. Most of the people who I actively communicate with are Twitter and Facebook friends from the US and Europe, who are up when I am, or the few other night-owls from around here.

Well, it's time to put an end to that, I thought. Not to say that I haven't been been trying for a while; I have. It just hasn't been working. I set alarms for 8:00am  and 9:00am, only to snooze them or even completely slumber through them. I get to bed early, only to lie down, turn and turn, and run through multiple thoughts spanning everything from the intricate details of how the universe was born, to what i'm having for lunch tomorrow. I end up finally sleeping by 6:00am or 7:00am, only to wake up again an hour or two past noon. There have been a couple of occasions where I ended up sleeping late and waking up early, figuring i'd sleep early that night, but nope. I either crashed by mid-afternoon, or ended up staying up late again, only to be caught back in the vicious circle over and over. Again, this has been going on for weeks and weeks, perhaps months and months. Same result.

Finally, yesterday, I figured I had a chance to fix things; again, I had tried sleeping early, and fell into the same routine of random multiple thoughts, rolling in bed, and generally thinking of things I haven't thought of in years. I eventually slept by 6:00am, but was forced to wake up at 8:00 to go do a number of errands (that I would have been in quite a bit of a pickle had I not finished them then).

So there I was, up early, facing the morning sun, driving around with a emotionless stare, finishing random errands till I was done by 4:00pm. I got back home, and was about to crash on the sofa watching a re-run of Romeo + Juliet (An amazing adaptation if you haven't seen it actually, with the whole story set in a modern day Los Angeles, while retaining the original Shakespearean dialogue. But that's a whole other story). A phone call stopped me from falling asleep, and I ended up having to go collect a couple of items from a friend. Finally home by 9:00pm seemed ideal, and I was exhausted. Finally. My perfect level of exhaustion aligned with the perfect sleeping time. I pictured it; if I slept now, I would be up by 6:00am or 7:00am, feeling great from having slept enough, feeling great from waking up early. I would actually be able to walk outside, and go to where the people have breakfast. I would have breakfast in public while other people were having breakfast. I would be an engaged member of society again. Everything seemed so perfect.

I got ready for bed, set my alarms for 7:00am, and closed my eyes. The last glance at the time told me it was 9:30pm, and from there I sank into my pillow...

I remember conjuring up multiple dreams; I don't remember the exact details, but they were many. Some dreams even had me waking up early, excited about how I was going to spend my morning. Remember, this is not just about waking up early. It was about waking up early, and waking up energized. It was about a routine, and returning to an active lifestyle. It was about less stress, less headaches, and being more healthy. It was a new life.

I abruptly woke up in the middle of the night. How long was I out for? An hour? Two hours? I wasn't going to let this ruin my objective. I didn't even bother checking the time or taking a glance at my phone. I shut my eyes and went back into dream land.

The dreams continued. Again, the details are vague, but I had this one recurring dream where I dreamt that I was sleeping, and I kept waking up to check the time, telling myself I needed a few more hours to wake up at 6:00. Other dreams followed, but this theme persisted.

I woke up again. What has it been, another hour or two? Didn't check the time, didn't check my phone, didn't do anything. Eyes shut. Dreamland.

This happened a few times; dreams, followed by me waking up, wondering how many hours I was out for, and going back to sleep. When I woke up for the fifth time, it was still dark outside. I closed my eyes again, but this time I couldn't sleep. My body had seemingly gotten enough rest, and was telling me to get up. My mind started running off into multiple thoughts, including trying to figure out if I was good to wake up or if I should sleep some more. I focused on that. If I had slept an average of one or two hours per session, I thought, with a total of five sessions, then I had probably slept somewhere between 6 and 7 hours. Maybe 8. I originally slept at 9:30. So now it should realistically be somewhere around 4:00 or 5:00am, maybe even 6:00 if i'm lucky. The sun should be coming up any minute now. That's fine, I can deal with that. I can wake up, try to do some early morning exercise, take a nice long shower, and go about my day. Yes. This would be perfect. This is ideal. Finally. Today. The first day of the rest of my life. I grabbed my phone, pressed a button and looked at the time.

It was 12:10am.