I love to sleep. It’s one of the (many) reasons I don’t want to be a parent. I resent anything that deprives me of the 8-9 hours of sleep that I require in a night, and I hear kids are pretty rough on the R.E.M. cycle. I just spent a lovely visit with my friend J, who is mother to a 3-month-old baby, and she is tired. Her recent victory is that her son has been sleeping from 10-3 a.m., a solid 5 hours. Gasp.
I can relate more than I want to. I’m an insomniac. It goes in spurts: 7-10 days of blissful sleep, then 3-7 days laying awake, bemoaning–agonizing–that the little threshold between asleep and awake seems totally uncrossable.
A problem-solver by nature, I have tackled this issue like a mathematical proof, but unfortunately, meditation + heavy medication + acupuncture + therapy − screens − sugar − caffeine ≠ sleep. Not for me.
So I’m at an interesting crossroad. I can keep fighting this with every scary medication known to Pfizer, and spend my waking hours exhausted, miserable, and ill, or I can give into it and shift my living hours to later. The dark hours. I’ve heard that there are people who are “night owls,” and actually feel more alive and awake at night, and get their best rest in the morning hours. If you’re one of those people, I confess: I’ve always secretly thought you lazy. We’re a society that equates earliness with hard work, the whole “early bird gets the worm” thing, or the first one to the garage sale gets the goods. However you want to look at it. I bought into it.
But have I misunderstood you? Are night owls just insomniacs who have shifted their lives to accommodate their body’s stubborn refusal to sleep? I’ve heard of artists, writers, creative types who conceive of their best creations in the wee hours of night, but when I’m awake at 2:30 in the morning all I want is to be asleep again. The last thing I want is to get out of bed and check out the world at 2:30 a.m. What would I find?