Everyone knows how important sleep is to health and mind, and it's been talked about so often that I'm just going to chime in on my personal view today. I remember when I was a kid at daycare; we would have nap time every day and, when all the other kids were up and playing, I would still be sleeping. I would sleep well past the hour or so we got. Then there comes the time when you have a "bedtime". You hate having to go to sleep when your parents tell you to; "but mom, I'm not tired!". You argue and argue, eventually to end up in bed all the same. Whether you sleep or not is the question. I remember going to bed, my mom would turn the lights off, and I would be under the covers playing Gameboy games, or reading.
Then there's the teenage years, those years where you want to stay up all night; you really don't get tired. You want to go out late with your friends, go to parties, just generally be out come midnight. Some parents don't mind; they know where you are and how you're getting home. Others, on the other hand, go ballistic! Now, I never stayed out late; consequently I never had a curfew so to speak. From an early teen age, and even maybe before, I used to go for walks down to the beach at ten at night, alone. Sure my mom worried and wasn't all that happy about it, but I went anyways cause it was one of my favorite things to do; still is today. I was never the party type; don't drink, didn't like at the "rap" and "hop-hip" and "techno or metal" that kids my age seemed to be listening to. I would be damned if I was going to sit, or stand rather, in a room in someone's house and listen to that crap loud enough to make my ears ring!
My mom knew that, maybe that's why she wasn't all that strict. Sometimes, when I had a job in UBC, I would walk to my house in Kits after work at ten or eleven at night. Got home at midnight then, yet it wasn't like I was causing any trouble.
During those years, although I stayed up late, I did sleep. A LOT! I was always late for school due to the fact that I was to tired to get up at eight. Now, as I write this, I wouldn't dream of sleeping in that late! In fact, if by some chance my alarm doesn't go off (and it's happened a few times) and I sleep in, I am angry and frustrated for the whole day! The fact that I had so much to do and now just wasted two hours sleeping just pisses me off like nothing else!
There was a few year period when I had major sleeping issues, and I mean I was going crazy! Still that was back when I wanted to sleep between ten and twelve hours a day, and would often be up for hours during the night. The kind of feeling where you're lying in bed just praying that when you close your eyes this time you will sleep; the next thing you know you open your eyes after having felt like you slept for hours and only twenty minutes have gone by. F*ck! During that time, I tried everything. Went to the doctor and was on I don't know how many different kinds of sleeping pills, both prescription and over-the-counter. I remember those nights where I would wake up two hours after I fell asleep and just take a sh*tload of Gravol or some other pills the doctor gave me because I knew I had to get up for school in a few hours and was freaking out. Lying in my bed at three in the morning, watching info-mercials on cable just because my brain was too exhausted to think anymore. Then going to school the next day and having to try to stay awake through that damn science class. You know the one where the projector is running; quietly humming in the background, the teacher's voice sounding like they were speaking in a different language, and all the lights off. I didn't have any problems sleeping then! Often I would just feel my eyelids getting closer together and the next thing I knew, the lights were on and people were telling me to wake up!
I finally decided, after being on those pills for years, to just say f*ck it! I gave up coffee (that was one of the hardest things I've had to do, oh the withdrawal from such a lovely drug we call caffeine), started going to bed at a decent time, and above all, woke up earlier. Yes, I got less sleep, and until my body got used to not having the pills to put me to sleep, it was horrible. Gradually though, I got used to it, or I should say my body got used to it, and I started sleeping better. That was about two years ago; now when I think of sleep I am grateful for the little bit I get.
My normal routine these days is, up at five thirty during the week, up at six fifthteen on weekends. Granted I only sleep in on weekends because my gym opens later and I always go there first. I feel blessed and lucky now if I get SIX hours of sleep; that doesn't happen that often. Things have been busy these last few months, and I've been averaging about four hours during the week and five on weekends. *sigh* Oh well, what can I say? I never get tired at night anymore; instead it will hit me mid morning or early afternoon and I will feel like sh*t sometimes, but that's another thing I've gotten used to. Although I don't get to sleep much anymore, I'm fairly content (or maybe I should say resigned to) the reality that I'm not going to get much more than five hours a night. Lately, I'll find myself going to bed at one and getting up at five thirty, dragging myself out of bed to go to the gym. Yet I do love a good nap and if I ever have a free moment I grab some much needed zzz's. Sleep can be a pain in the ass; napping, on the other hand, is paradise. With everything being so busy in my life and so many emotions coming at me from every side possible, I might as well feel lucky that I sleep at all!