Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Sleep and Me

sleep and me

My laptop tells me it's 5:43am. It's getting light outside, cars are starting to go past more frequently and I can hear birds singing. The world's waking up and, as always, I'm in my usual state of exhausted-but-staying-awake-anyway. A 5/6am bed time and 1/2pm wake up time has been my normal now for a few years; once or twice a month, too, I'll stay up all night "to sort out my pattern", only to ruin it again not 48 hours later.

I still can't work out what it is that keeps me up at night when it's not insomnia. Am I putting off tomorrow's responsibilities? Is it my love of the night time or my need to be alone a lot? Is it bad habits, a bad routine? Maybe my brain has started associating night time with creativity, with a productive brain, or perhaps that's wishful thinking and I'm simply too lazy to move to bed. Maybe it's more that I'm addicted to scrolling aimlessly through my Twitter feed or watching trashy YouTube videos, or I guess it could be that I'm dreading waking up, worrying about the state of my mind and mood in the morning.


Perhaps I'm trying to slow down the passing of days because I feel lost at the moment, and perhaps my anxiety is keeping me up subconsciously. Maybe I'm simply lacking a purpose, a reason to wake up and be responsible? Honestly, I've no idea. I know it has to change but I can't figure out a way to stop doing it.

I've tried sleeping aids and pills, I've tried pillow sprays and roll ons. I've tried reading before bed and using F.lux on my laptop and night time mode on my phone. Anxiety medication just kept me in bed longer and meditation and white noise and lyric-less music and wind down podcasts were a dud, too. I once even tried ASMR before quickly realising it creeped me out.

I've listened as people express their horror/disbelief/concern and tried to take some of it on. Sometimes I think about all the people who get up and go to the gym at 6am before work, trying to make myself feel guilty and remind myself it's gross and slovenly. I've tried to re-wire the way I think about sleep; tried to feel excited about an 11pm bedtime. I've done my best to occasionally live out a "normal" routine and consciously feel the benefits.
I know it's not good for me. A particularly spritely doctor once lectured me on the importance of "sleep hygiene". I know it feels good to get up early and make the most of daylight and tick things off a to-do list and generally be awake at sociable hours. But no matter how much I try, I just cannot make a good routine stick.

It's 5:52 now. There's a dull ache behind my eyes and it really is getting light outside. But I'll be here for a while, probably. I'll spend some time researching silversmithing classes in my city, or find a place to finally have a go at throwing pottery. I'll read Ruby Tandoh's ode to white sliced bread, as it's waiting for me in the next tab, or perhaps another chapter of Zadie Smith's White Teeth. Maybe I'll watch some more Parks and Rec or browse Oliver Bonas for photo frames or anything, literally anything, I do that is not sleeping when Normal People sleep.

Then I'll sleep through too much of a Spring day and make myself angry and then see how tomorrow night feels.

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