These little ones are calm and relaxed, snoozing in the afternoon sun.
A draft stirs the candles
While all doors are closed
Alert green eyes stare
At invisible ghost
Shadows crawl closer
And touch me with fear
The clock keeps on ticking
As midnight draws near
My senses all tensed
I shiver, feel lost
What was comfy and warm
Is now covered in frost
Cat stretches and yawns
When I cuddle his hair
Turn off the lights
And climb up the stairs
As I slip beneath covers
Strong arms hold me close
A smile lights the darkness
Emerging from doze
In shadow shines sun light
Love stirs deep within
As we lay warm entangled
And touch skin to skin
What’s the longest you’ve been without sleep?
It is 1984. And George Orwell was right: someone was watching me! But it was not my big brother. If it had been him, he could have helped! No, it was the university who was staring at me, breathing in my neck, inserting truck loads of adrenaline into my veins.
It was the week of finishing my thesis. It was a week of writing, of failing typewriters, of coffee and music, piles of papers, computer sheets that made no sense, all spread out through my room. Of house buddies feeding me, encouraging me to keep going, assuring me that I WOULD make it.
There was no time for sleep. My whole world was turning around this project. I took short naps, with my head on the desk, kept the neighbors awake with my never ending writing, the drumming of my typewriter echoing through the house. No computer with word processing options, but a machine that was training my fingers. And I was in turn torturing the poor thing. Hours of just staring at a sheet of paper that had to be filled with sensible, even brilliant meanings. And they were all eluding me as the hours and days slipped through my hands.
Here is the very same typewriter: it survived the slaughter in splendid condition!
At the end of that week – so on Friday – five copies of the thesis had to be handed in at the university, or I would have to wait for months to get another try. On Thursday noon I remember sitting in the bus on my way to the Safaripark Beekse Bergen, where I had done my research and where the copies would be printed and bound. The final concept of the thesis was in my bag, which I kept protectively on my lap. Everything was blurred, in a haze, and an insistent peep was tormenting what was left of my brains.
I have no idea how I made it to the Safaripark. The maximum hours of sleep was about six hours in four days. A zombie looked healthier than I did. Worried hands took the concept from my hands and I could finally relax. A couple of hours later I was on my way home again with five printed copies. Which led me to my diploma.
But first it led me to my bed. I have never been as tired in my life as back in 1984.
A couple of years back, my sleep rhythm was out of control. It was a rhythm, but one without the sleep. Exhaustion would pull me into the arms of the Sandman, only to wake up again at 1 AM, wide awake. Staring at the ceiling, staring at the walls. Turning from one side to the other. Insomnia.
At first it was the divorce that kept me awake, worries over the children. Plus getting up occasionally for sending defense in an online game. Yes I know, totally cuckoo 😉 When things settled down, there was no cause to lie awake anymore. But still my inner clock would react to the tiniest sound, to a random thought, and adrenaline flushed away the sleepiness. Years of two or three hours sleep a night. I tried meditation exercises, natural homeopathic tranquilizers and in the end heavy sleeping pills. Even those could not keep me down.
Three years back things changed. Somehow I found my balance again and was able to sleep six hours in a row. It was the year I also found Vman. Was it coincidence or my restless subconscious finally settling down? No need to analyze, just enjoying the rest. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful partner, precious kids, sweet parents, amazing siblings and great friends. Blessed. I finally found my inner peace.
Until last week, when ‘insomnia’ hit again. But no need to panic, this was my own fault! You see, an iPhone entered my domain, with the most amazing ‘apps’. Yes folks, this Dutchess has apps now! One of the recommended ones is called ‘Sleep Cycle’. This app would register your sleep cycle and wake you in your lightest sleep, max thirty minutes before the specified alarm time. In this way you won’t wake from a deep sleep and feel muggy for the rest of the day. Sounds interesting huh?
The first night would be a night of testing. So I plugged in the phone, clicked on the ‘test’ button and placed the iPhone beside my pillow. Then I lay down, eyes wide open in anticipation. Every time I moved, the iPhone would beep. Hell, it worked alright! Right side – beep. Left side – beep. Onto back – beep. Now START damn you! Nothing happening. Again I checked the settings. Turned it off and back on. Again the test. In the end, I spent the whole night ‘testing’, meaning being beeped at every few minutes to show it was working. Don’t worry, I thought to myself, it is only one night to register my movements.
In the morning I found out that I should have used the timer button after the test. ROFL. But I can easily handle one night without sleep. The next night I chose a nice soothing alarm sound, activated the Sleep Cycle alarm and lay down. Half an hour later I was still awake. What was happening above my head on the mattress? An hour later I checked if it was still working. It was, and so was I. That night I slept twice for a short period of time. My mind was too busy analyzing what was happening. Would it really wake me up ahead of the alarm time? YES it did, even the whole night *grins and shakes her head*
Do I need to tell you that I removed the app in the morning? Now I know when the alarm clock will play its sound. No need to analyze anything. My sleep cycle doesn’t need an external Sleep Cycle. It will regulate itself! 😉
What keeps you up at night?
PS I do realize that far more important issues will keep most people up at night. But I wanted to bring a smile to your face. Have a wonderful weekend all of you.