Chronic stress means waking up more tired than when you fell asleep.
We should be allowed occasional weeks without sleep without repercussion. This is one of those weeks.
When you are still awake at 3:15 in the morning, you begin asking yourself stupid questions like, "I know I’ve been awake for 20 hours. Can I make it another 21 hours before going to sleep?"
The level of exhaustion I’m experiencing right now is bizarre, inexplicable and almost beyond description. I don’t believe I’ve done anything to deserve to feel this tired. I’d like to rent a secluded cabin and just sleep for two days.
My dreams were so vivid and wacky last night that I suspect I’d fail a drug test this morning.
Three nights ago, my left calf seized around 2am. It felt like my leg was tearing in half. The muscle is still sore today. Two nights ago, my right calf seized around the same time but I awoke quickly enough and managed to massage and relax the muscle sooner to avoid lingering pain. My wife thinks I’m pregnant.
It’s 1am and I’m fighting a bout of insomnia. I had a friend years ago who was an insomniac. Sounded great! Stay up all night learn, juggling, and doing. It wasn’t until years later that I learned insomnia doesn’t mean energy. Insomnia can be zombie. Too tired to do anything yet still unable to sleep. That’s pointless because nothing gets done at night nor during the day. I’d rather be awake and alert…all the time. Now where’s my rejuvenation pill that substitutes for a good night’s sleep?
I arose at 2:30 this morning. I walked the upstairs for 15 minutes trying to convince myself to stay awake. In the end, I decide on "just 30 more minutes" of sleep. I awoke again 30 minutes later at 5:30am.
I once lived a long time on 3 hours of sleep a night. In the long run, it hurt. I love to sleep and especially to dream but if I could take a pill and do away with sleeping, I’d be pill popping in a heartbeat. Over the years I have changed my habits from pulling alnighters and staying up until four in the morning to trying to consistently get to bed by 10pm. I know that if I get to sleep by 11:59pm that I sleep far better than if I go to sleep at 12:01am. If I get to sleep by 10pm, I can be up and productive at either 2am or 4am which makes for an astoundingly good day for me.
What really happens? I wander to bed at 10 or 10:30pm but lounge in bed chatting with my wife and watching television until midnightish. Between 2am and 2:30am, one of the dogs needs to be walked or rather she has formed the habit of going outside for a few minutes. I sit around for a few minutes and debating starting my day but acknowledge that on 2 hours of sleep my head is simply too fuzzy. I return to bed. At 4am, Evan wanders into our bed. I debate getting up but decide Evan will follow me so I conceded to another 30 minutes of sleeping. At 4:30am, I wake again and alter between cat naps and tossing and turning until between 5 and 5:30 at which time I finally get out of bed and try to get some work done before 6:15am. At 6:15am, Amy arises and I step away from the computer. If I spend time on the computer between 6:15 and 7am, she misses her bus. From 6:15 to 6:55, I make Amy’s lunch, chat with Amy, prompt Noah to brush his teeth, and then drive Amy to the bus stop. From 7:15 to 8:15am I try to get another hour’s work done but this is dependent upon whether or not Evan has awoken and whether or not Noah has missed his bus and needs a ride or Sarah needs a ride. Between 8:30 and 9am Monday through Friday, I am carpooling either Tommy or Evan to school. At 9:30 I am typically back at my desk trying to get work done. If I eat lunch, I take it at my desk. At 2pm, I will grab a 15-20 minute power nap and return to work by 2:30. At 5 or 5:30pm, I break to prepare dinner for the kids. This break typically extends to 7pm. I’m usually back on the computer no later than 8 and try to work until 10pm when the cycle begins again.
That is par for the course Monday through Friday. I try to avoid working on Saturday. I like to get up early on Sunday and try to work at least through lunch.
Update: A friend asked, "why doesn’t Cathy do the morning with the children?" There’s far more duties than what I’ve described with 5 children. She is not a morning person. We have no dishwasher so she hand washes the constantly barrage of dirty dishes our family produces. Our washer and dryer run 24/7 and she does all the folding (I’ve been forbidden from doing laundry…something about doing it wrong. Thank you Bill Cosby!). She handles all the school paperwork, homework, supplies, schedules and with 5 children in 5 schools there is plenty of that! She gets all the children’s clothing and backpacks laid out the night before so our mornings go smoothly. She also does the carpool pick-ups to balance my carpool drop-offs. She handles medical appointments, dentist, extracurricular activities, etc. The children also have their chores and areas of expectation. We are not the Duggars but we have a system that works for our tiny large family. I think we have a machine that runs pretty smooth but I certainly wouldn’t turn Mary Poppins away if she showed up on our doorstep.
I have a challenge ahead of me that is keeping me on the computer night and day. Last night at midnight I decided to rest a couple of hours then try to work through the night but it would take all night to get those couple of hours:
- midnight: I close my eyes.
- 12:15am: Evan comes into the room and asks for yogurt.
- 12:15am-2:30am: The rumbling of the thunderstorm keeps me tossing an turning. Exhausted but unable to rest.
- 3am: I realize the thunder is actually my daughter trying to put together a desk in the room above us.
- 4am: Dog asks to go outside. I brush her off as neurotic.
- 5am: I concede she’s not neurotic and take her for a walk. She really needed to go out.
- 5am-8am: Score some sleep!
I like to get up early. I accomplish a lot and the sound of near silence plus chirping birds is very appealing to me. However, I don’t do it often anymore. I’ve become a 6am riser although today I scored 5am. I went to bed at midnight and almost rose from bed at 2am. But almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
The human form, particularly the female form, is beautiful! All shapes sizes colors. It doesn’t matter. They hang in our art galleries, appear in photographic journals, hang on the walls of our homes (most fun thing to say at a friend’s house “so, is that your wife?” answer “yes”), are used in advertisement, sculptures, and so many other places. Nudity is art. I think religion was first to try to ruin the human body. Granted, some Pagan religions actually celebrate nudity. But the Internet succeeded where religion failed. How? Religion made it taboo and that raises curiosity actually making the forbidden object/fruit/alcohol/drug more desirable. The Internet threw it in our faces making it meh.
When I was a child to understand the human body, you had to sneak a peek at your friend’s father’s 2 or 3 adult magazines (if you could find them), or squint your eyes at the fuzz on the scrambled Playboy channel (how do you think The Magic Eye pictures were discovered?), we read National Geographic hoping the photographer that month had visited Africa, examined medical books (thank goodness Mom was studying nursing!), looked at how to take photography books (thank goodness my grandfather was a photo nut!), and found clubhouses in the woods with walls plastered with pages from Hustler, Playboy, Oui!, and other magazines (and yes, the woods had these treasure troves..what do children do without woods now-a-days? Oh, right, they have the Internet!).
What brought me here today? A leg cramp. Last night my left calf spasmed nearly bringing tears to my eyes. I sat up in bed and grabbed my leg pressing my palm hard against the muscle. I tried stretching the muscle and relaxing the muscle, pointing the toes down and up, and it laughed in my face and wriggled beneath my palm as if infested with a thousand alien worms. I needed water and a banana. This seemed to go on forever and deemed a post. I sought a picture to accompany the post by Googling calf muscle. Clicked a link (NSFW). And uttered these words aloud: Oh, I like the bridge! Apparently, I now see dolphins again.
"Just one more minute" Those words are like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Oh. I suppose that expression is going to have to go the way of the slide projector. Do they even have chalk boards in the schools anymore? I utter those words almost everyday. Today I did it at 1:54am. I was awake enough to get up and work. But noooo. I was compelled to take just one more minute From 2am-6am I could have made huge coding progress! Of course, the New York Times reported people are 33% more creative after sleep. To prove the point, that problem which had me stumped at midnight has already been solved.