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THE STUFF THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF

20 February 2003

I am writing this at 1:30 a.m.

If this were 10 years ago, I would be writing it at the end of my day. I have long been noted for my ability to work into the wee hours of the morning, but it all caught up with me a couple of years ago.

Now it seems like I can't get past 9 p.m. any more.

When I go to Australia in September, I will be in transit for 33 hours. I'm not worried about jet lag at all. My body doesn't konw what a "normal sleep cycle" is. Now that I've started crashing so early, it seems like my days are reversed. When I woke up at 1:30 and realized "oh my god! I didn't do a journal entry!" (yes, I worry about such things), I'd already had 4 hours of sleep and my body decided that it must be time to get up.

I decided to go back to sleep for a few hours and then get up and write an entry before going to the gym, but my brain wouldn't let me do that. So here I am, shivering in the cold, hunched over my monitor, trying to be brilliant--or at the very least not dumb.

I don't know if it helps or hurts that I don't sleep in a bed. Somewhere around age 50, I guess, my body rebelled at being horizontal for long periods of time. Every muscle and joint in my body, especially my back, would ache after a few hours of sleep. It didn't make any difference where I slept--soft bed, hard bed, home bed, hotel bed...they were, with very, very few exceptions (a bed in Houston was an exception) all horrible for my back. There have been times when I'd be in tears in hotels in the middle of the night, unable to find any place to be comfortable.

I think of a hotel in London where we had almost no room to even walk, one extremely uncomfortable chair, and a bed that was, for me, a torture. I remember trying everything to get comfortable...anywhere, and ending up in tears because there was just absolutely no comfortable place.

Now that I think of it, this has been going on for longer than 10 years. I can't remember when I could consistently take going to bed casually, knowing that I would actually sleep through the night and wake up feeling normal.

For a number of years, the answer was working so late that I would fall asleep exhausted, so I didn't have to deal with trying to get comfortable. But there was always the waking problem.

While I don't feel sleep deprived, I obviously have been for years. I read somewhere that if it takes you less time than 15 minutes to fall asleep, it's a sign that you're sleep deprived. Apparently a normal body has that slowing down time and gradually drifting off into sleep. Get me still anywhere, and I'm out instantly. I mean instantly! I envy people who can read in bed. The only way I can concentrate on a book any more is to read while I'm on the treadmill--I'm not likely to fall sleep there!

I discovered several years back that I could actually sleep--and sleep a full night--in my reclining chair. Somehow it hits all the right points in my body and I don't get up in the morning hunched over like an old lady (even if I've finally become one). I guess it was about three years ago that I finally decided there was no point in even trying to sleep in a bed any more. If I sleep in a bed, I wake up in pain; if I sleep in the recliner, I sleep just fine.

Of course this does make traveling a bit problematic, however. Motel pillows rarely offer the same kind of support that a chair does. Some of the better motels do have big substantial pillows and enough of them that I can kind of approximate the feel of a recliner and actually sleep, but most don't.

If I'm lucky, the place will have a comfortable chair. I've been known to either sleep sitting up in a motel chair all night or, if it's one of those low back things, to prop myself up with pillows and put my legs up on the bed and see if I can't get some sleep that way.

People can't believe, when I spend the night at their houses, that I prefer to sleep on a couch (which gives great back support...not as good as a recliner, but better than a bed) than in a bed.

But then there are the hours of sleep. Because of trying to be Superwoman-- office manager by day, transcriptionist by night, with a soupçon of theatre critic thrown in for good measure, I don't get a chance to sleep a lot of hours. Now that I seem to be falling asleep earlier and earlier (it was somewhere between "Ed" and "West Wing" last night--so probably around 8:30 or so when I fell sleep), I'm getting up earlier and earlier. My word--as I type here, the hours creep on apace and it's going to be after 2:30 when I post this. I'll probably be able to get back to sleep, but won't sleep long because I didn't get any transcription done last night and need to do some before the psychiatrist shows up to pick up his work in the morning.

My body doesn't know what "normal" is.

So when I think about 33 hours in transit and how I'll adjust to that, it doesn't phase me at all. I've never had jet lag going to or from London. My body is just so happy to get sleep at any time, it doesn't question what time of day it is, or how long it is.

And now I'm going to try to get a couple more hours of sleep, so if you'll excuse me, please....

Quote of the Day

A lot of men wear sleep deprivation as a badge of courage.
Dozens of CEOs pride themselves on sleeping just four to five hours a night. What happens, though, is your judgement disappears and your perception is impaired.  Three-Mile Island, Chernobyl, and the Exxon Valdez are all examples of sleep-related accidents. To remain healthy and be at your peak, you need about 8 hours of sleep per day. Einstein slept 10 hours.

~ Rubin Naiman

Yesterday's Photo

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Ned sleeping with Burt (the dog) and Enie (the cat)...both animals are now sleeping eternally.

 

One Year Ago
In a Whirlwind
...my part time job is rapidly evolving into a full time job (I worked 10 hours yesterday on my part time job...without a break)

Two Years Ago
Diamonds and Stones
Grief, depression, and other emotions are inevitable as one goes through a life filled with highs and lows. The choice is ours, how we deal with the negative emotions that crowd in upon us. Today may have begun looking like a stone...but, if you work at it--and if lovely men bring you lovely boxes--the stone can actually be an opal.


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Pounds Lost:  70
(this figure is updated on Tuesdays.)

On the Odometer

URL Total 741.6
Blue Angel Total 667.8
2003 YTD Cumulative:  181.4

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