What is sleep? It’s a drug. Well, maybe not actually, but it feels like a drug. If it were a drug, it would certainly be one I was addicted to. But then we’d all be addicted to sleep and so I guess in that case it wouldn’t be a bad thing to be addicted to. “We’re all addicts here.”
Well anyway, sleep is that really good thing humans do that allows us to not live for a period of time. That sounds really grim, but isn’t it cool to just be able to slip out of existence for six, seven, eight hours? Or even fifteen minutes, if you just want a quick dip. It’s like traveling between dimensions–a new dimension where you are the god, the creator of the fabric of it, the parameters completely set by your own mind. It’s like time-traveling, too, because we become so absorbed in our unconscious fantasies that we leap from 11 PM to 7 AM in a few quick bounds–sleep is so fluid! time to go to work already?–or we slow time down, if it’s a night where we just can’t sleep, and we keep waking up and surely it’s been at least five hours, but no–it’s still only midnight and you’re five years old and desperately want it to be 6 AM already so you can open your presents.
Sleep is good for the brain and the body, we know; when we get our sleep, we feel better the next day, or even better after a nap. Well, sometimes. We tend to want to over-do it–because if sleep is good for you, the more sleep you get the better it must be, right? So if we sleep for 14 hours, we will feel like Superman, and if we sleep for 24 hours, we will be cured of all our natural diseases and reverse all aging, ready to go, fully immortal? But isn’t it the case that when we over-sleep, we tend to feel almost as lethargic as we would if we hadn’t slept very much? Days when I wake up at noon, I feel so sleepy, so hazy, and the rest of the day I yawn and yawn, my body having grown too familiar with rest to want to separate from it. There is a sweet spot: the balancing act of sleep. Find some happy medium where we are rested, but not too little or too much.
Once we slip into that sleep, though, it can feel so comforting, so cozy. The feeling is good, and we want to cling to it–we are greedy! We want more. We always want more; when we find something good, or feel something good, we keep returning to it because it is such a reward. It is our habit, or instinct to feel attracted to these positive sensations. It is often the case when my alarm goes off, I do not want to move. I am already here; this is easy! Forget my plans, I’m settled. Even if I’m fully rested, at 100%, I keep myself on the charger and prolong it. I’ll live here forever.
What happens when we don’t get enough sleep, though? Funny, funny things. Some people are highly protective of their sleep, safe guard it against all intruders and grow rabid when it is impinged upon, stolen. They send themselves off to sleep at a predetermined time, regardless of outer circumstances–habit, ritual, routine win, and their sleep patterns are a tried and true practice that can be mapped, graphed unfailingly. Do not mess with me and my sleep! I will be grumpy, disgruntled. But others do not prioritize their sleep–oh, they mistreat their sleep, neglect the act. Ah, sleep is dispensable; I have other activities in which to partake. If something comes up, sleep is the first to be disposed of.
My sleep has become something quickly sifting through my fingers. I’m not able to hold onto it anymore, like how it used to be wet sand packed into a sphere for me. It has dried, and dissipated into an extra-curricular activity of my life: Sorry, I won’t be able to make the Sleep meeting tonight; I have other appointments. These appointments involve being awake–class, work, homework, schoolwork, projects, papers, essays, the million different ways you can say, “Work, work, work, and oh! Responsibilities and obligations, which are work.” I value my sleep, I do, but I’m not able to prioritize it like I used to. My procrastinating lessons became very cumbersome, and so I had to scale back on my Sleep meetings. I have mostly quit taking the procrastination lessons, but the effects still linger.
In any case, sleep deprivation does weird things to me. I nod off a lot in class. In chairs, waiting for class. The other day I was asleep in a chair outside my classroom and my classmate woke me up minutes before it started. I even had a coffee on the table next to me. I hallucinate in a weird half-awake/half-drifting off manner, my eyelids closed and wild visions that combine what I hear of my surroundings with my thoughts, and I wake up, confused as to where the giant space octopus made off to.
And then my eyes feel like they are so far back in my skull. In fact, I’m looking at myself from the behind– my eyes are hanging out behind my body they are so far back in my skull. That’s how it feels, anyway. Things feel slower, I feel farther away from my life.
But there is no time! I cannot sleep and accomplish all that I need to accomplish! Yet, if I am well-rested, the time I spend awake is more productive, more focused. And if I’m tired and writing, it is all rambling, all aimless–I type strange things, weird ideas happen, I begin to wander…
Sort of like what I’m doing here…
Where am I going with all this?
Oh yeah–directly to my bed.