4/09/2014
Six hours on average

Today is a national holiday, which explains why I could afford to stay up late last night.

Well, actually, I stayed up really late, I might as well change that last sentence. Today is a national holiday, which explain why I could afford to stay up early this morning.

Okay, that did not quite sound right.

So, yes, I stayed up last night. It's not a strange thing, although I don't usually stay up until one in the morning anymore. That was a good few years ago. These days I actually prefer sleeping, perhaps because I'm trying to grapple with my mortality or whatever, or perhaps because I spend a lot of my off time in front of a screen, catching up with my television shows. I know, that sounds like a very sad existence. It wouldn't sound so sad if I point out that I go out on dates too, and I go home tired, because the commute will get to you whether you're steering the wheel or letting someone else - preferably not a speed maniac - do the steering for you.

Last night, well, I was playing SimCity. (Again. I seem to be interested in the game again. I'm now convinced that a month of playing, followed by three months of inactivity, is a balance, so to speak.) I was talking to Rainy, which is much harder now that she's lost her phone and her ability to visit particular sites on the Internet, making our relationship feel like a long distance one. I was looking at my Twitter feed, looking for news on a music festival I wouldn't go to anyway.

I ended up sleeping at one in the morning, giving up the fact that I will not be able to wake up early to do a morning walk. (I have stopped on the morning walks again. The one-month-three-month thing should not apply here, but I really seem to enjoy sleeping now. Must be the mortality thing.) I was pretty sure I'd wake up at around eight in the morning, maybe nine in the morning, but instead I woke up at a little past seven. I wasn't woken up or anything. I just woke up, forgot what I was dreaming about, and decided that it's time to get out of bed. And then I realized I only slept for six hours.

When I was a little kid I was amazed by this science lesson about how long we humans sleep. Infants sleep through most of their days. Us kids would sleep ten hours. (Remember those pre-school "lessons"? We sleep at eight in the evening and wake up at seven in the morning. I tried doing that once, roping in my amenable grandmother for the task. I don't remember how it ended up. I also don't know how that is possible.) As we grow older, we'd sleep less and less; we'd get eight hours as a teenager, and on average, six hours as an adult.

I am now sleeping six hours a night on average. Seven, if I'm really tired. I'd usually sleep at eleven in the evening - this is a usual night, when I'm going to work - and be woken up by my French-Canadian alarm at five in the morning. At night, I would be in front of this laptop - usually, never mind the fact I spend most of my life in front of a screen - either doing some blogging, or television watching, or Rainy talking. Or I'd be reading a book.

You're sleeping less and less as you grow up, seemingly to accommodate the increasingly elaborate responsibilities you're given. I now have my day job and my so-called night job. I have relationships to keep and relationships to build. I have my blogs to maintain. But this is the first time, in over a week, that I thought of something to write about here. I often find myself staring at my screen at work, because there's nothing left to do. You dream of just falling asleep, for the whole day, perhaps, but your body just doesn't allow you to anymore.

What more when you grow older? What more when you're, say, 70? Do you sleep for three hours a night, and stay up the rest of the way, doing nothing because your body won't let you? "Stay awake now, sir," some voice might point out, "for when you sleep, you sleep forever!" And at that very moment, you regret not being able to, or at least feeling like not being able to, do anything at all. We change our parameters for satisfaction - to paraphrase that book I've been reading - often, and in the end, we don't want to fall asleep. So we don't, until we can't, but, in that one final moment, our bodies will let us go to a deep slumber.

And your responses...

Post a Comment