When To Sleep?
It's Saturday night, well technically Sunday morning 1 am right now, and I'm snuggly in my PJs in bed. I worked during the day and returned home, recklessly tired. I use the word "reckless" a lot, I think it describes a lot of what I do. Recklessly composing, recklessly eating, recklessly tired, recklessly blogging. It usually means that whatever word follows it, is a result of/affected in some way due to my own recklessness. More on that some other time.
I'll write a little intro to what I'm about to delve into here. The other day my friend Emmett said to me that a wise man once told him "you can have 2 of the 3 things; work (school/job), social life, or sleep." There seems to be some kind of myth or misunderstanding in the world where people try tell us we can have them ALL. This is untrue. How do I has ALL of them?! Once you figure that one out, you let me know, and the answer better not be drugs 'cause drugs are bad.
So as you can probably gather, both Emmett and I choose to let sleep take a big fat back seat. Emmett's also my drummer, we think alike in many ways, and also fall asleep on many a subway ride home from rehearsals (or to, come to think of it). As I write this, I am extremely sleep deprived. And I'm not saying this in the cool-sleep-deprivation kinda way, I'm saying it in the malnurished-I-feel-sick-and-was-that-a-dream-I-had-this-morning-or-did-that-really-happen kind of way. The lines are blurred between my imagination, my dreams, and real life, which can make me a terrible person right about now to strike up a conversation with.
As little as I sleep, I think that's no way to live your life, being a zombie all the time. I think almost every day, in some social interaction, I hear myself say "oh rightttt, ya I'm sorry you have to excuse me, I'm barely functioning today." This is some BS. Last week I had some blood drawn at the doctor's office (I'm fine, everything's fine). They asked me to lie down (I have a history of fainting when seeing needles), and as my head rested on the pillow, my first thought was "man it feels SO GOOD to be lying down". This is not a good sign. Red alert.
The question I'm going to throw out there is - how much is too much? Or even better, how little is too little? What are you willing to sacrifice in order to have 2 of the 3? Which 2 are your 2, and which "1" suffers? The formula has always stayed true to my life. My number 1 has always been my work, that's just my nature. But sleep and social life have always been in competition for number 2.
I'll go through weeks of working and sleeping really well - such responsibility, very young professional, lone wolf forever, who needs parties anyway I'm too professional for that now. I feel like a million bucks, nothing can bring me down. I'm articulate, and ready to dominate all the things, all the time. Then in one depressing back-handed slap to the face (see I'm saying all sorts of weird shit now because I'm tired) my sanity just seems to renounce my physical body and before I know it I'm skateboarding with Drew ofthe Drew to some rave in Brooklyn and there's glitter all over my face, and I've got a redbull in one hand and vodka in the other and dear god what am I saying to the people who I come in contact with and do I make any sense - I'M DEPRIVED OH GOD I HAVE BEEN SO DEPRIVED OF HUMAN CONNECTION. Then the downward spiral begins. I start to go out every night after I'm done with my work, and I convince myself that sleep is some sort of evil system put in place to hold me back. I will beat sleep - it's all in the mind. I start to sleep 5 hours a night, then it becomes 4, then 3, and then I start to think well fuck it this is just a short nap by now, I'm gonna just stay up and watch the rest of House of Cards and let tomorrow just blend right into today and it's all one big day this is not a problem at all because I'm invincible and the first human being to not need sleep.
This leads to the "endless day". The endless day is when all the days blend together and you can't recall when you saw who, what was said to who, and what the chicken-scratch note you wrote on your hand says and why it was important enough to be etched into your skin with ink. When you enter the endless day, you are of no use to anyone or anything. You waste space and tend to stare off in the worst directions - you catch yourself staring at someone's crotch while on the subway, or staring right at someone's face who isn't talking to you, or you HEAR things. In the endless day, you start to hear your phone ringing, when it isn't. Any pitch that resembles your text-tone (I use the whistle iPhone tone) makes you grasp for your back pocket, which in turn makes you look like you're just overcome with the need to grab your own ass. God forbid someone near me whistles because I get all sorts of confused.
The endless day (remember this is in actual fact SEVERAL days blended together) either ends in a lot of laughing or a lot of crying. Sometimes they are at the same time. Sometimes it's while you're eating the best chinese take-out of your life, or while you're in the shower, or while you're picking up your dog's poop in a plastic bag. The point is you lose your mind and you realize that sleep has won, and you promise to accept it as a part of your life again.
This leads to "the big sleep". I won't take credit for this term for one second, because it was coined by Matt Sokol and Drew ofthe Drew back in college as the term for a sleep that lasts 10 hours or longer. We all had our bouts of sanity-loss throughout our time at Berklee. It seems no one really ever slept that much. BUT, the big sleep was a very, very real thing. We all lived on the same floor in the dorms, and so naturally we were all up in each other's business all the time and knocking on each other's doors at all hours of the night. If a mass text was sent saying "The big sleep is tonight", you had absolutely no right to knock on that door. And if you did, it better be some kind of music emergency (and yes, those did exist at Berklee College of Music; having your guitar's intonation randomly go out before your proficiency exam was enough to keep one awake at night, but you could count on Drew to save the day).
There is also the "sleep-trick" that I employ most nights of the week. I especially use this if I'm at a sleep over with someone else. Person X sets their alarm and starts to exclaim "oh man wtf it's so late, how did it become..." NO, I say. DO NOT SAY THE TIME. I usually follow it up with something like "good thing we had a solid dinner around 7:30 pm and got in bed at 9:30 pm and now it's like 11:30 pm - we are gonna sleep like champions tonight and be so well-rested tomorrow". In the "sleep-trick", I believe that if I don't know the time, then the time is open to interpretation, at which point I choose what time it is in my mind. This never works, by the way.
So here I am, and the big sleep awaits me. Unfortunately, I am no longer a student but a young professional (LOL), I can no longer choose when I abandon the world and claim big-sleep-status for a night. As I sit here, I count down the hours of the amount of sleep I shall get. Okay cool, I'm gonna get a solid 7.5 hours, that's 5 REM cycles, I win. Oh wait, I should do that thing and then shower... and then clean my room... and then call my friend to say hey... okay now we're down to 5 hours. Damnit, here we go all over again. My bed has been calling my name, no wait, SCREAMING my name all week, yet here I sit typing these words. What is wrong with me you may ask? Well, I'm probably hyper-active though I was never diagnosed this way. I prefer hyper-creative. To my own detriment. I'm definitely not going to look at the time tonight.