Sleep, sweet sleep

I sleep more than I used to.

When I was married I was up — boom — right when the alarm went off. I had to. There were two people that needed to get into the shower. Plus there was our daughter to get ready for school. Our house was quite the busy place on weekday mornings.

I was a light sleeper in those days too, constantly waking in the night to check the locks on the doors or just to wander the house. And there was a stretch there when I was staying up pretty late.  As a result I was a zombie all the next day. Don’t get me wrong. I think zombies are cool. I just don’t want to be one.

Now, my alarm goes off at 6am but I stay in bed until 6:30am, and even then it’s a struggle to get up. I feel as if I could sleep the entire day away. That’s probably not true, but it feels true.

At work I often sleep most of my lunch hour away. I used to look forward to lunch so that I could read. Now, I read a little bit and then nod off.

And it’s not as if I stay up late anymore. I go to bed at 10 most nights, maybe I’ll stay up until 11pm, but still….

I realize that some of this is due to age. I’m older now and no longer have the energy of a young man. That’s a fact. But there’s something more to it than that I think. I enjoy the escape of sleep, it’s a much more pleasant state to be in. I suppose that I am depressed to a degree. Just lucky that I have meds to keep me going. yay…

I never used to be one to enjoy sleep so much. I always felt like when I was asleep I might be missing something. What exactly I don’t know. But something…. I just wanted to be awake.

Now most days there’s nothing I’d rather do than just sleep, a sweet dreamless sleep, all day and all night.

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4 responses to “Sleep, sweet sleep

    • True. But when I first started taking my meds I was struck with a surge of energy. It was like I was wired on coffee all day. I stopped drinking coffee because I’d get the jitters. Of course, it evened out after a time. Now I drink maybe half a cup in the morning, but I don’t even really need that. It’s not so much that I’m tired as that I just love the sleep state. It’s an escape.

  1. Hey, Chris–

    Sleep and I go a long way back, so I have some perspective on this. First, let me tell you how much I chuckled [sorry] at your consternation over “sleeping in” until 6:30. 6:30 and I have *never* been friends, and I see the front side of it maybe five or six times a year, when I have something special planned–usually a long trip. Like it or not, Circadian rhythms really rule your life and eventually catch up with you. Then you start in with the late P.M. naps, which really screws up things.

    I understand where you’re coming from, though, with the idea that you might be missing something when you’re still asleep. I get that feeling, too, especially in summer, which is the only time of year I really enjoy getting up early. One of my best memories as a child was going down to the Eastern Market very early on Saturdays as a kid–there was something indescribably exciting about being among the hordes of people, the noise and smells, the exotic sights (for a suburban kid) like rows of butchered pigs’ heads in glass cases–all while the rest of the world was still asleep.

    At the same time, I, too enjoy sleep, almost in the same way that I enjoy movies–as an active participant. Of course, dreaming is a big part of it, but nothing ever makes me feel more alive and focused than a good night’s sleep. You’re right about sleep as a pleasant escape, but there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s something wonderful about the idea that, no matter how “modern” we become, or how many hours we spend earning money, surfing the web, watching TV, or whatever, our most primal nature eventually takes over, and, for a few hours each night, we are suddenly no different from our cavemen ancestors (or most other species, for that matter).

    You are probably on the right track in not using caffeine as the yo-yo regulator of wakefulness that it is–a monkey that I, unfortunately, will never be able to get off my back. If you’re concerned about the amount you’re sleeping, though, I would simply figure out an “optimal” amount of sleep for you and try to stick to it by establishing little rituals–like, for example, always doing the same thing as soon as you get up (eat, surf the web, write, whatever) and before you go to bed. (If you’re going to bed around 10 and getting up around 6, that’s around eight hours, which, as I understand, is very much in the norm.) And try keeping track of your dreams. For some reason, this is always a “dreamy” time of year for me–I vaguely remember reading long ago that your dreaming changes depending on the temperature of the room, which seems at least a little plausible, considering that your body is reacting differently to keep warm/cool. But it’s endlessly fascinating to try to parse the people, places, and things that come up in your dreams, and maybe even good fodder for a story.

    Anyway … I wouldn’t worry too much about an “excess” of sleep, unless it’s something that really starts to disrupt and take over your life. It happens to me occasionally–every now and then, I might get 12 or 14 hours thoughout a particular day, and then it more or less passes. I figure that it’s just my body telling me that it needs it. Sleep also tends to increase during my own periodic waves of depression, but it also gives my restless brain a much-needed rest. So, enjoy it, but if it really seems to be getting out of hand, go and see someone.

    • I guess that’s what I don’t understand. If I’m getting the necessary 8 hours, more or less, why am I still so tired. As was suggested it could be, in part, due to my meds. I just wish the buzz I used to get from meds would return. That felt good. Another contributing factor could be the heat where I work. It is always quite warm here and that can make me sleepy.

      I am not at this point sleeping anything close to 12 or 14 hours a night. I wonder if I could, if I didn’t force myself out of bed? On weekend, I’ll usually only sleep in until about 7 or 7:30, maybe 8. Thing is once I’m awake, I’m awake, and my mind immediately starts working, and some of things that occupy my thoughts these days are not things I want to be thinking about. I suppose I’m one of those people who has a difficult time “putting things out of my mind.” I dwell too much, even obsess at times. Ugh. It sucks.

      I need a nap.

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