Tag Archives: Withnail & I

Resolved: I Will Leave the Arena of the Unwell by Resetting My Broken Sleep Clock

Even a Stopped Clock is Right Twice a Day
Even a Stopped Clock Is Right Twice a Day

It’s official—my sleep patterns have drifted into the arena of the unwell, making an enemy of my own future. Somewhere, deep down, I knew it was only a matter of time. When left to my own devices, I’ve slept at truly bizarre hours for my entire life. School vacation weeks, my dad would wake up to go to work, only to find me curled up in the living room reading, having been up all night. Or, my mom would knock on my door in the afternoon to see if I wanted to go shopping, and I’d be conked out, dead to the world.

My broken sleep clock served me well in my clubbing years, as staying up until four or five in the morning came naturally to me. I really could dance all night, without the aid of drugs (though often with the aid of tequila). I also made my clock work for my studies. People knew to look for me in the all-night computer lab, where I would be writing my papers into the wee hours of the morning. After my marathon typing session, I’d sleep for a couple of hours, before going back to revise the paper (sometimes my three-AM strokes of genius didn’t hold up in the light of day). I’d then head off to class to hand in the paper. Once that was done, I’d go back collapse into a heap on my unmade bed.

However well I managed to turn my vampire-like tendencies to my advantage, I spent much of my waking life feeling like I’d been run over by a truck. Getting up in the middle of the afternoon also made me feel as though I’d missed out on the day. Finally, I’d had enough.

In lieu of a weekend in the country, I made some changes the week after I graduated from college, among them resetting my broken sleep clock. No matter how late I’d been out the night before or what I had done to myself, I’d wake up at six in the morning. I’d throw on my clothes, grab a cup of coffee, and go out for a walk. It took me a while to adjust to my new routine, but once I did, I found that I had more time to get things done. Morning light no longer seared my flesh.

I somehow kept up the routine through graduate school, and then continued it in my working life. In fact, until the last couple of weeks, I could honestly tell people that I was one of the morning people.

Lately it seems, however, that my broken sleep clock had not mended itself at all. Instead, it seems as though it had merely bided its time, waiting patiently for me to have an extended break from the everyday to rear its ugly face.

After the events of two weeks ago, I needed to take some time for myself. So after my networking group on Thursday, I cancelled my plans for the weekend. Except for my Monday evening therapy appointment, I didn’t have anything on my schedule until tonight. And that’s when things went awry. I blame in part the stress of Friday, but things didn’t get really strange until Saturday.

Saturday was bright and sunny, yet colder than I’d like it to be, and so I didn’t leave the apartment for my usual Haymarket trip until three in the afternoon. I was out and about for a couple of hours, and then decided to settle in for another evening of Twin Peaks.

I should have known that David Lynch would set the twisty dials of my broken sleep clock spinning in earnest. Instead of staying up all night, I actually fell asleep watching an episode sometime around nine. I woke up at around two-thirty in the morning, and instead of picking myself up off the couch and heading to bed, I started the episode up again and worked on this latest blog incarnation until about four-thirty. I wrestled with the new format, feeling like an evil genius each time I got something to work the way I wanted it to. Then, sleepy again, I went to bed and didn’t wake up until ten-thirty or so.

Sunday went much the same way, except that the day was so crummy, that I didn’t go out at all, except for a short trip to Patsy’s Pastry for a lobster tail (oh yes, I’ve also been earning the black star of nutritional death lately too). Instead, I just blogged and twittered away until my wrists resembled crow’s talons.

Monday was positively freezing, and if I hadn’t had my therapy appointment, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere. After getting home around nine-thirty, I watched TV for a bit, and then fell asleep on the couch. I woke up at three and did some job-hunting until four. I then went to bed. I woke up at seven-thirty, feeling as though a pig had shat in my head. Something was truly wrong, as I’d had nary a drink since Thursday. I went through yesterday in something of a daze.

But last night, last night took the cake. Again, it was cold, and my early venture out didn’t make me want to go back out again. So I ordered takeout for dinner and settled in to watch Obama’s press conference (interesting, by the way. Nearly all the questions were about the economy, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan didn’t come up at all). I fell asleep somewhere in the middle of Keith Olberman’s Countdown, and drifted in and out of sleep until three-thirty. I sat up, wide awake, in the middle of a re-airing of The Rachel Maddow Show and set about to hunt for jobs. I found a possible freelance gig and sent out a perfectly coherent message at four. I hunted around for jobs some more, replied to a couple of e-mails, and did some reading. It finally occurred to me that if I didn’t go back to sleep, today was going to be really weird.

Off to bed I went, but I didn’t really sleep. I got out of bed around eight-thirty, resolved that this will not happen again. So, forthwith, even if it kills me, I will set an alarm and wake up at seven-thirty each morning. I will take a shower no later than an hour after waking. I will go outside before noon.

My resolution will be aided (I hope) by my plans for the rest of the week, two of them blog-related. Tonight I will have drinks with Andraste. She has to get up early, and since I have plans on Thursday, I won’t want to get too terribly inebriated. Tomorrow, I get to meet Robyn, of Just Sayin’ fame, and possibly Rich, of Beantown Caffé. I’ll post pictures.

Friday I have a lunch with an old publishing friend. And, drumroll please . . . this weekend I just might have a date. He’s smart (really, really smart), rather hot, and foreign-born. We’ve exchanged several witty and cultured e-mails, and he’s asked me if my week’s plans could include him. I definitely don’t want to be a scatter-brained mess for that. Stay tuned for more details.

OK, it’s after twelve, and I must be off. I do have a bit of an excuse, as I was a caller on WBUR’s On Point program and had to be on hold for a while. Tomorrow, though, I’ll be resetting my broken sleep clock. That bastard’s going to suffer. I’m going to be a morning person again!