I don’t sleep well. I’ve never slept well. Although, when I was younger I remember being able to sleep for 5 hours straight and oftentimes going back to sleep for a couple more hours. That 5 hours was a hard limit that was timed pretty perfectly. Nowadays it’s more like 2 or 3 hours until I wake up. Getting back to sleep is very hit or miss and mostly miss. Oftentimes I remain in a sleepy state that isn’t really sleep.
I tried various sleep aids and remedies of course, but nothing fixed the problem. I finally resorted to supplementing with caffeine during the day – which has helped the most. Oh, but what about naps during the day you say!? Well, I actually have plenty of opportunity to nap during the day… BUT, I can’t nap. It’s forbidden apparently. If I attempt to nap, something ALWAYS wakes me up very soon after I drift off.
For example, I can sit in a room in which no one enters EXCEPT when I fall asleep. I briefly fell asleep in the afternoon the other day but the power randomly blipped on and off (which rarely happens) and people came looking for me. I was woken up, and that was the end of that. If I fall asleep, some external circumstance tends to wake me up. And if it doesn’t, I just wake up after a few minutes with a burst of energy. So no, I can’t nap.
I wonder if it’s some sort of “Harrison Bergeron” style handicap (the short-story by Kurt Vonnegut, 1961)? Being in a perpetual state of low-energy induced by a lack-of-sleep certainly has a suppressing effect. It seems strange how well-enforced it is: time-limits, disturbances, and a no-nap policy. The strangest part is the well-coordinated external interruptions. I used to live in a place where I regularly woke up to the sound of an old howling cat. I thought that was the problem, but even after I moved I just woke up anyway.
Why doesn’t this world want me well-rested? I don’t enjoy being in a drowsy state. I suppose it’s just one of the many types of limitations placed on people, like low self-esteem or imposter syndrome. Life can’t just be easy apparently.
I’ve fought sleep for as far back as I can remember. When drowsy, I’d find a way to keep from drifting off, some sort of stimulus or distraction. I don’t know why. Even nowadays when I lay in bed at regular times I can’t remain asleep — I wake up throughout the night. “Huh!? Wha!? Oh, I drifted off… got caught slippin.” What’s going on?
I would hypothesize that fighting sleep is due to a fear of what’s to come. If every morning brings with it a brand-new day, and I distrust this world, then I’d be petrified of the sunrise. I’d want to maintain the continuity of the previous night. Late at night everything settles down and I’m at ease, the world around me is calm and at rest.
But next morning… BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Alarm clock! GO GO GO! The deadline is TODAY!! Your appointment is TODAY!! New challenges begin TODAY!!! Holy sh*t!! Last night, before sleep, things were so quiet, so peaceful, nothing needed to be done, nothing was due. I could sit back and relax in solitude while experiencing a complete lack of engagement.
I would speculate then, that I won’t sleep well until I trust that life isn’t out to get me. I must believe that every morning isn’t a new opportunity for the world to torment and harass me. I must have faith that each day brings with it the gift of a good life. It’s not about finding the right concoction of pills or potions — it’s about developing a positive and appreciative perception of this place.
What is sleep? A chance for life to reset your realizations. Start fresh, wipe the slate clean — what you just discovered about life, is gone. But remember, remember the insight and tranquility you came upon last night.
The anxiety you feel as the day starts anew is formed from dreams bringing you back into “reality”, the world of illusion. But resist, look at a familiar token from last night, recalling the calm, the carefully considered reasoning.
Don’t start fresh, resist the pull into a new day, maintain the continuum. Don’t forget who you are, the inner essence you discovered in quiet contemplation. You are not the anxious and angry creature that sleep tricks you into being.