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Saturday, 10 January 2004

Sleeping Patterns

Mood:  lazy
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My sleeping patterns are fucked.

I know I go on about how much I sleep ad nauseum these days, but it?s really controlling my life right now. It?s so fucked.

Of course I?ve been getting more sleep lately, too much, often, although I reason that I have a massive sleep deficit to compensate for, so over sleeping regularly isn?t something I should worry unduly about.

I wonder if my increase in time spent in the land of Nod actually compensates for the years of going without, yet?

I don?t work all year round, but have to get up at six in the morning when I do, so a sleep diary for a typical year would be:

Most of the past six years

Slept from 1am till 6am

5 hours a night

6 and a half months of the year

Ditto, but during the holidays

Sleep from 6am till 7pm

13 hours a day

3 months of the year

Ditto, but on weekends

Sleep from 2am till 11am

9 hours a night

2 and a half months of the year

Average zzz's per night = 7 hours 50 minutes

Things started to go a bit haywire last Autumn, though, and I embarked upon a sleep regulating routine that involves Pavlovian conditioning via herb teas, baths, no alcohol, a ban on sugar after eight o?clock, on caffeine after four, and an alarm clock that goes off at ten o?clock in the evening, giving me notice that I must sleep, now, like it or not:

October, just after splitting up with ex

Slept from 3am till 5am

2 hours a night

1 month

During the holidays

Sleep from 6am till 7pm

13 hours a day

3 months of the year

On the weekends

Sleep from 10pm till 11am

13 hours a night

2 and a half months of the year

Using sleeping pills since October

Sleep from 11pm till 6am

7 hours a night

Just three months, so far

Average zzz's per night = 9 hours 56 minutes 50 seconds

I upset the balance a little last week, by going to see a four hour epic play, Mourning Becomes Electra, with JatB, midweek. On a work night (pious gasps of horror all round). I knew I?d have problems staying awake for it, not least having taken my daily soma before setting off at five o?clock. I drank copious quantities of coffee to help keep my eyes open, at first, but when I realised that front row seats mean you can only exit and enter for pee breaks inbetween scenes, the coffee routine was disrupted. So I tried sugar, my second choice stimulant. After, I calculated I?d stuffed seven cakes down my willing pie hole, over the course of four acts. That, and the added advantage of it being a brilliant play mostly worked. Although there were obvious signs of impaired mental faculties ? took me an entire act to recall who wrote the play (one of my favourite dramatists), and another two to remember it was based on a Greek tragedy. But, hurrah, I only fell asleep twice! Both times in the second, plot-padding scenes of an Act. Yay me. I?m like an old dear on a bingo trip.

This week's sudden increase in sleep debt, plus a stinking dirty head cold, means that since the theatre, I?ve been going to bed at around 4-6pm, and getting up about 3am. This morning, I rationalised that there?s nothing fruitful to do at such an hour, and made it back to sleep by seven. I woke up again at ten, but thought it was one. I?m completely, utterly disoriented, having drifted from someone who had years of nowhere near enough sleep a night, to someone inundated with sleep, who gets way way too much.

[Of course, if I get home and immediately sleep, it does mean that I don?t have to speak for more than five minutes to Wickedex, yeah I did get that benevolent coincidence. (Damn, I hate when the books you?re reading infect the way you write; I?m starting to write like Aldous Huxley. And not in a good way.)]

During the holidays

Sleep from 6am till 7pm

13 hours a day

3 months of the year

On the weekends

Sleep from 10pm till 11am

13 hours a night

2 and a half months of the year

The last two days

Slept from 4pm till 3am

11 hours a night

If it continues, I suppose that?s the rest of the year. Zoinks!

Average zzz's per night = 11 hours 55 minutes

So now, I?m having a mild panic, a panicquette if you will, about whether this will be a permanent state of affairs. Will I forever be dropping off just before teatime and waking up an hour and a half before dawn? I had assumed this was normal for a pensioner, but it?s thirty years too early for me to be able to get away with it. Im not even incontinent yet.

I know I should work out the averages, now, see if I?ve paid off my six year sleep debt. See whether I can afford a few late nights, now and then. Believe me, I?ve tried to work it out. But I?m an English, not a Maths, and it?s 3am as I?m writing this ? I?ve nigh on forgotten how to add up at all.
Correction: Martin has just worked it out for me, and the averages seem to show that over each year, I always got enough sleep. I just get it at rilly rilly weird times of day, me.

My sleeping patterns are so fucked.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 11:28 AM GMT
Updated: Monday, 12 January 2004 2:18 PM GMT
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Saturday, 10 January 2004 - 2:54 PM GMT

Name: April
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wow I wish I got as much sleep as you. I usually get about 2 hours a night. lol at least your sleep patterns are @#%$! in a good way :) Sorta.

Saturday, 10 January 2004 - 3:49 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

That's true. I should quit whingeing and just hope it lasts, I guess. Thanks for reminding me; hope you get some decent shut-eye soon, April.

Saturday, 10 January 2004 - 6:28 PM GMT

Name: e
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I happen to know that you were still up as I was going to bed the other day- ie 4:30 am your end. In the end not seeing daylight might start to make you feel a bit down. That's all. Sleep whe you're tired, don't sleep when you're not- it's more natural. As long as your social or working life or your health are not suffering, it doesn't matter, does it?

Saturday, 10 January 2004 - 6:37 PM GMT

Name: Sie

I know how you feel, I keep getting trapped in your "during the holidays" sleep pattern. Every time I solve the problem using sleep depriviation I slowly slip back to this stupid, annoying habit. I never get anything done, ever. Itsodooinmeeddin.

Saturday, 10 January 2004 - 7:18 PM GMT

Name: Cyn
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You take sleeping pills, correct? Are they prescribed? If so, is the doctor that prescribed them any help whatsoever in suggesting another (additional, perhaps) course of action?

I just have one @#%$! sleep "pattern"--going to bed when most everyone is about to get up. The world it seems has a 9-5 mentality.
But I don't tire until the wee hours of the morning. You it seems do rather the opposite most of the time.

I have been on sleeping pills for 4 years and decided this week that I don't want to be. It going to be interesting experiencing withdrawal.

I do empathize with you m'dear. Only people with truly @#%$!-up sleep patterns fully grasp what a severe impact it has on your entire waking life.

Saturday, 10 January 2004 - 7:29 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Cheers. I hope it works out okay for you.
Yeah, I started taking sleeping pills knowing the eact date I'm going to stop taking them - which is partly what makes me wonder what the averages of how much I sleep now are, and whether they'll sustain or decrease when I stop, in a few months.

Saturday, 10 January 2004 - 7:30 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

It does, rather, doesn't it? I guess getting too much sleep isn't exactly the end of the sleep spectrum that I should be worried about - the years before when I didn't are more detrimental to health.

Saturday, 10 January 2004 - 7:33 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Mmm, good point. I can't imagine going to sleep at about four will enhance my social life, but still, my body probably requires it after the previous few years. It's also patently a response to the selling the house - no prizes for guessing that sleeping is a convenient way to ignore things you don't like that happen in the waking world. Still, you do what you can, I guess.

Saturday, 10 January 2004 - 9:43 PM GMT

Name: sarah

when I can't sleep, my dad always trucks out this story of an insomniac who lived in London, and would get the last tube to an unknown destination and spend a few hours walking back; it tired her out so she got *some* sleep and she did something a bit more constructive than lying in bed stressing.

Not only do I doubt that, he then went on to suggest I take walks on the Town Common at 2 in the morning (there's not much of a tube system in rural nothumbria) but I suspect he was just fed up of me living at home and wanted rid of me..

..anyway. withdrawl off sleeping tablets can be a killer, spend your holidays pretending you have to get up in time for work and kick your body-clock into sorting itself out.

At least if you are an OAP you have the slippers to match :D

Saturday, 10 January 2004 - 10:15 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Jebus! It's the curse of the sodding slippers!

There's no fucking way anyone walking home from the end of the tube line would get home before ten or alive.

Saturday, 10 January 2004 - 11:21 PM GMT

Name: sarah

slippers: nahahaha. you knew you shouldn't have posted that pic.

doubtful walk home: that's what *I* thought, perhaps it was an anecdote from 1893 or something.

Sunday, 11 January 2004 - 12:29 AM GMT

Name: yidaho
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I have the same 'problem'. It's not caused by stress, depression or any other kind of disorder. I'm up at night because it's so damned peaceful. I wake up and can't resist tippytoeing downstairs for a bit of undisturbed time on the peecee or whatever.. No phones ringing, no-one knocking at the door, no nagging boyfriend, no demanding kids. I can wander around semi-clothed or dressed in 'sloppies' without fear of unexpected visitors. I just love the absolute freedom that nightime brings! Ahhh..

Sunday, 11 January 2004 - 5:04 AM GMT

Name: e
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I agree with you Yidaho. When I was training as a teacher four years ago, I got into the habit of waking up at 5 am to work for that very reason- total peace and quiet, feeling fresh first thing in the morning, plus you get to see the dawn and hear the dawn chorus, which is a major benefit.

Sunday, 11 January 2004 - 5:12 AM GMT

Name: cape
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Sleep is overrated. But only because I am envious of those who can sleep. Although I am in my rhythm of mid winter blues, so sleep comes late and takes advantage at all the wrong times, like work times.

"the morning chorus?" I would love to know what I am missing. Nvm. I can't get up on time to hear it anyway.

OH yes, careers are overrated too. What the hell, eh?

Sunday, 11 January 2004 - 10:25 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Believe me, I'm regretting the slippers already. She's packed up almost everything in the house, but the slippers remain untouched.

Once, in a mild domestic disagreement over something no doubt philosophical with my ex, she drove off and left me with no money or travelcards at a supermarket five tube stops east of here at nine o'clock. It took me four hours to walk back, and, as it got to throwing out time in the dodgiest areas, it was pretty terrifying.

Sunday, 11 January 2004 - 10:28 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Actually, you two make it sound quite nice, now. Perhaps I don't need to change too much! :o)

Sunday, 11 January 2004 - 10:30 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Heh. They sure are in Britain. The long hours work culture mitigates heavily against any normal sleep patterns. It's ridiculous. Thank god I only work nine months or so of the year.

Sunday, 11 January 2004 - 1:09 PM GMT

Name: sarah

I think you need to do something symbolic with those slippers; make a modern art sculpture, maybe?

I bet you slept well after that hike though - I once got kicked out of a flat at 8 in the morning with absolutely no clue as to where I was, no money for a bus/taxi, and walked for three hours through the roughest council estates, too scared to ask for directions, until I finally found what I'd previously thought was the western limit of the city. Me living in the east end at the time. That was a fun day.

Sunday, 11 January 2004 - 1:39 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

I think you win the Bad Walk Home Biscuit, then!

Tuesday, 13 January 2004 - 12:17 AM GMT

Name: Martin Sewell
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I knew I could send you to sleep for a few more hours if I tried... ;-)

Tuesday, 13 January 2004 - 7:01 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Mmm, I didn't factor in sleepless ULL meets, did I?

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