Why is it that I keep staying up for 48 hours or even 55 hours at a time? Until the point of complete exhaustion? Why don’t I just stop what I am doing after 15 or 16 hours after waking (like normal people), and rest then for 8 or 9 hours, and then get up again?
Seriously I am asking you, if you are reading my blog here, to let me know your insights. Of course I might not like them or respect your comments. I cannot promise about that, but I can say I would like very much to train myself to have a 24 hour day, including about 8-9 hours of sleep. And I am open to ideas, my mind is not completely closed to new ideas.
For your information, here is a typical schedule of mine: sleep about 20 hours, continue resting (no longer asleep) for a few more hours, then finally wake up and stay awake for 45-55 hours, depending on circumstances and feelings.
That’s where I am now. Any advice? Continue it like this? Change? How?!
Why would I like to change this schedule of mine? Because (1) it would immediately improve the quality of my life since I usually feel better physically within the first 24 hours of waking up. (2) it would potentially improve my long term health, maybe even allow me to live longer in an improved physical condition. I think this based on reading that sleeping every other day is not good for one’s health, although actually there doesn’t seem to be much information out there, maybe because not so many people do this way (?). (3) it would possibly allow me to be more productive, as my mind might function better. I say that only because it makes sense logically.
Why do I have this weird schedule anyways?
One reason, (maybe not the main reason, I don’t know) is that I continue to stay up and stay up due to fear of not completely finishing what I am doing at the time. It’s my fear of uncertainty (related to OCD). Finishing a project or activity is more certain because it’s finished, done. Whereas unfinished projects and activities are uncertain because I have to finish them later and I am not certain if, how or when that would happen. So I tend to continue doing the same thing in fear and hopefully finish. I am even apprehensive about writing the first part of this article and then stepping away. It’s not finished yet! How and when will that happen? What if it doesn’t happen? These are scary questions in a way!
Another reason for the weird, is that I am able to do this, nothing is preventing me. If I had a a job that occurred everyday at certain hours (for example 11am to 8pm every day, 5 days a week, or something like that) obviously that would give me a reason to change the weird sleeping schedule.
Another reason is that I have gotten used to it. Ever since I was in college I liked to stay up and be awake at night instead of the day. I have always liked night better than day because there is less noise, less stress, and other people, if awake, are generally in a better, more relaxed mood than during the daytime because they are off from work and able to to enjoy their free time, etc. Also, since it is dark and quiet at night, the world seems to belong just to me, more so than during the day.
In addition to liking night better than day, I also, over time and starting many years ago, have become used to staying up beyond the normal waking time of most humans. (I think normal waking time is about 16-17 hours awake, followed by 7-8 hours of sleep, and that cycle is repeated over and over again.) For example, when I was in college at Stanford, I remember I would study for long extended periods in my apartment, then I would end up falling asleep in my classes. That somehow worked for me in sense that I was able to achieve good grades anyways.
Also, when I was living in Singapore after getting divorced from my husband I remember I was really scared of the word sleep as well as the idea of sleep. My OCD sometimes makes me afraid of certain words or topics, and sleep was one of those for me for several years (however, not anymore). Unlike some other people with OCD I have read about, I was not afraid of what I might do if I fall asleep, I just simply strongly felt adverse to the topic and talking about it made me feel dirty. (It seemed to have something to do with the fact that sleep and unconsciousness are related.) So since I strongly disliked the word and topic of sleep, I specifically decided to not sleep as much as possible. I thought that life would be more fun if I was awake all the time and I would somehow miraculously be stronger that way. After staying up all night and being out and about, I wouldn’t find a place to sleep. I would instead find a swimming pool to swim and take a shower and start the day all over again. In those days, I would only finally go to sleep when I could not stand it any longer.
In recent years I love sleeping for a long time and waking up feeling refreshed. Actually 8 hours seems really short to me. Even 12 or 13 hours seems short. Like I mentioned above, often I sleep about 20 hours. But the problem is I still get exhausted later after 24 hours or so. And staying up longer decreases my physical well being.
I would like to experience a 8 hours asleep, 16 hours awake schedule again one of these days. Maybe this could work for me. But it’s hard to change!