Sleep-topia

Oh man. I am pretty sure I slept through the whole weekend. Even the super-bowl (Not that I’m entirely sad about that).

If you knew me in person, you would probably say I seem like the guy who burns the candle from both ends all the time. To that I’d say, yeah, probably. I don’t shy away from exhaustion if its to get something done, or for my benefit. It’s just how I’ve always been as I got older.

I’ve actually always had trouble sleeping. But not exactly in the sense you may be thinking. When I was young I just didn’t really get tired often. I could go to bed at 3am and wake up at 7am ready to go. I can say for sure that my parents weren’t entirely thrilled by my Circadian Rhythm. When I was younger I wouldn’t go to bed at night, and my parents thought they could correct it. I’d go to bed, and they’d close my door when it was time for lights out. Once I heard them close their door I’d hop out of bed and do whatever I felt like. Now I don’t really remember getting into mischief exactly, this started when I was really young.

First thing I remember was a baby-gate being my arch nemesis. They’d put it up thinking it would keep me in my room. Jokes on them, I just went over it. My dad would raise it a little every day, trying to keep me from going over. I very vividly remember one day he raised it up and I stood behind the gate seeing how high he’d made it. I looked at the bottom of the gate and just thought, “Did he really just make it easy to go under?” and under I went. After that he got me with two baby-gates stacked, and I was defeated.

When I got older, my parents turned around my door-nob so they could lock me in my room at night. Now don’t freak out, they always unlocked it when they thought I had fallen asleep. But I was still awake, just waiting. I think about that point they realized there was no point in trying to stop me, but eventually figured out when I was older I wasn’t out to cause trouble.

This behavior followed me for years. The sun would dip below the horizon, and I’d instantly be awake. I could be dragging all day, but once the night came, I would wake up. On top of that, I always felt like I was wasting time sleeping. I knew my body needed it, and some days I would genuinely be tired and want to sleep. But I never really liked feeling like I had to sleep.

In todays society everyone is hopped up on caffeine and can’t function without their daily fix. Being honest, I don’t think I had a single “energy drink” until I was 18. Blasphemy I know. I yell at my youngest brother for drinking energy drinks like water, when he just liked how they tasted. I didn’t become a ‘regular’ caffeine drinker until I was around 23 out of necessity. I was working nearly 70 hours a week at my job (same one I’m at now) and without it I just couldn’t function. This was also the only time period when I was sleeping somewhat like a regular person. Exhaustion was winning. Waking up at 3:30am to get into work by 4am. Work until maybe 6pm or a little later, then go home, shower, eat, and crash again. I did that for a couple months before I said no more. I was also putting in 8 hours on Saturdays. So I was always tired.

Now I work a pretty normal 5-6am to 3:30-4:30pm spectrum. I tell people I survive of a very careful balance of naps. Some days I’m tired when I get home from work, crash a couple hours, wake up good. My biggest real issue though is what I call my “sleep windows.” If I’m tired, and start dozing off, then that means I need to lay down then or it could be hours before I get tired again. So if I start to doze in and out on the couch at lets say, 8pm. If you wake me up, and make me function even for 10 minutes I won’t be able to go back to sleep. I may be up passed midnight laying in bed wishing I could sleep. This is because my brain thinks that I went to sleep already. I used to call these pseudo naps. Let me doze for a bit and wake me up in 10 minutes and I’ll be good to go for hours. As long as my brain disconnected for a few minutes it was like resetting a sleep timer.

Terrible honestly. I used to fight with my fiancé about waking me up because I couldn’t get her to understand that my body worked different from most people when it came to sleep. If I’m tired, my body will become worthless. This will only happen though if I’ve neglected too many windows too many days in a row. Sure enough, it finally happened again. I didn’t sleep well one night, I kept ignoring windows and wanted to stay up. So I ended up only getting a couple hour of sleep one night. Then worked too much. I went home on Friday, and slept from around 5pm to the next morning. Then slept sporadically all Sunday. Finally going to bed at 6pm and waking up at 5:20am to get to work.

I feel great now, but know its kind of like a cautionary tale. I’m gonna have to make sure I don’t sleep my next weekends away, or I won’t feel like I’ll have a life. One day I’ll get a handle on this balance thing. Sorry I kind of made this way longer than I anticipated. Maybe someone else has similar problems, know you aren’t alone!

Cheers!

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