About twice a year, I get really busy and try to use caffeine as a substitute for sleep. At the point when I feel like my blood has been replaced with coffee, I try to start going to bed earlier. This was one of those weeks. The goal: Be in bed by 10:30 and get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Let’s see how that worked out.
Monday: I turned off the TV after “The Daily Show” and brushed my teeth. I was a little behind schedule, but by 10:45, it was lights out.
Tuesday: I got up at 6:00 and hit the gym. That night, I went to see some people I knew in a movie at the 48-hour Film Festival screening. The show started late, but that was okay since I was late myself. (Do you know how to get to Cantrell Road? I didn’t.) Afterwards, I visited with the movie stars in question and headed home. I got there a little before 10:00, and I could have made it to bed on time. Except, I hadn’t eaten dinner. I made a quick trip to a nearby drive-thru and ate while watching Jon Stewart. 10:30? I’m full, but not exactly tired. 10:45? Ready for bed, but not really sleepy. 11:05? I decided to finish a book I’ve been reading. 11:40? Turns out, I wasn’t as close to the end of the book as I thought. 12:15? Begin the tossing. 12:30? Add the turning. Eventually sleep.
Wednesday: I woke up early enough to make it to the gym. While weighing the pros and cons of a run, I fell asleep again. I woke up with enough time for a quick shower and a hearty breakfast. That night, I started winding down early. Just before 10:00, I was ready for bed. 10:10? My friend Regina returned an earlier call. She had had a good day and gotten some exciting news. We chatted. 10:30? Regina was exhausted and hung up so that she could go to bed. 11:00? I was so happy for Regina, that I got an energy boost and was no longer thinking about sleep. Watched TV. Read. More TV. 12:45? Crap.
Thursday: I stayed in bed until 7:20. I didn’t have much time to get ready for work and tried to get up. Then, I considered calling in sick instead. In the end, I felt too guilty and got out of bed. I made more coffee than normal and poured the extra in a travel mug. The gym stared back at me sadly as I drove past. The upside was that I would be exhausted by the end of the day and go to bed early. I’d fix my sleep schedule. 10:30? After a day of being exhausted and cranky, how was I so wide awake? Be tired, already. Be tired!!! 10:31? Nope, didn’t work. I checked my email. 10:35? I saw an email from my friend Jay with the subject line: “this is awful.” Concerned, I opened it up, and it said: “some horrible girl named elizabeth has commandeered your telephone number. i gave her a significant tongue lashing on her voicemail.”
I bet he did, too. Poor Elizabeth. Now, I love Jay for many reasons, but one of them is that when I spoke to him a few minutes later, he called Elizabeth a rude name, and then rapidly followed up with, “I mean, I’m sure she’s a nice person…” Jay was on West Coast time, so it was still early there. We discussed his dissertation and he had this really interesting idea for it. As a hard core nerd, I started thinking about examples he might use in his dissertation and what he would say. When we finally hung up, I immediately went through my bookshelves to see if I owned anything that he might be able to use. Then, I made a note to check for more things at work the next day. I considered getting on the computer to look for sources. Wait, wasn’t I supposed to be in bed an hour ago? 12:00? Well, it’s the earliest I’ve gotten to bed since Monday. That’s progress.
The weekend is shot because–among other things–I got Season Two of “The Wire” and I suspect I will keep promising myself “just one more episode” until I can’t keep my eyes open. Which means, I’ll be starting over on Monday. How can I enjoy sleeping so much, and yet be so opposed to going to sleep?