Abandoning the Land of Nod
January 9, 2012
For most, the new year begins on January 1st. For teachers, it begins in August or September. My new year is going to begin on January 9th at 5:45 a.m. This is the time I will wake up to begin the process of getting ready for work. My husband complains incessantly about the abuse of my alarm clock. I have one of those nature sounds alarms that I thought would give a less “alarming” wake up call, so Sean could sleep while I drag my sorry nocturnal carcass our of a warm bed to begin a drowsy day of pretending to be a normal person. Yes, a normal person. The rest of the world welcomes the day with bright eyes. They all leap out of bed exclaiming, “What a great day!”(I imagine sunshine streaming through their windows and birds chirping on the birch trees just outside) or “How can I be the best me that I can today!” as they joyously leap into the shower, singing, and then effortlessly don their work attire, eat a balanced breakfast of cartoon looking bacon, eggs (sunny side up), toast, fruit, and orange juice out of a glass pitcher, and watch the morning news. This is how grown-ups start their work day. Then they start their commute with at least 20 minutes to spare, and bounce into their jobs ready to take on the world.
This is not how I begin my day. First, I am rudely awakened by those damned waves. Whoever said ocean sounds were soothing was an idiot. I hit the snooze bar at least 3 times before I absolutely have to get up, or Sean, my husband, complains about the snooze. I roll out of bed, into the bathroom Sean rolls over to enjoy another few hours of blissful sleep with three warm, cuddly kitties there to keep him warm. I stand in the shower, freezing, while fantasizing about how early I’m going to go to sleep tonight. “I’m going to go to bed at 7, so I can get almost 11 hours of sleep. Yes, that’s what I’ll do.” I wash my hair to the music in my mind of climbing into bed at the hour of 7-year-olds to “catch-up” on my sleep. This never happens of course since by the time 7 o’clock rolls around, I’m watching an o’ so important show on TV, and I completely forget about my former promise to myself. Or I remember, but am guilted into a late dinner with Sean. He doesn’t eat lunch until 3, so my 11:10 lunch is forgotten about, and he cooks meals when it’s dinner time for him. I get it. If I cooked, then I could make dinner earlier. But since my cooking consists of Kraft macaroni and cheese or Caesar salad, he doesn’t want to partake. I’m a bad wife, so I try to at least eat with my husband when he wants to eat.
So I’m stuck. My vacation self naturally conforms to a nocturnal pattern of going to bed at dawn, and waking up just before sunset, while my work self has me up before dawn, and hopefully in bed at a “reasonable hour.” My vacation self sleeps too late for my husband, but gives me alone time to watch endless hours of Star Trek and Vampire Diaries on Netflix after he goes to bed at 1. My work self wakes up at the same time as the smug diurnals of the world who insist on normal bedtimes, but forces me to go to sleep when my husband wants to eat dinner. According to most studies, adults only need 6-8 hours of sleep each night. I don’t feel rested until I’ve slept at least 11 hours. My sleep schedule is like that of a teenager.
The diurnals win. I am almost 40 and am going to attempt something I never thought possible. I am going to be normal…sleepwise. I am going to grow up, and acknowledge that sleep is just a part of my day, not something to fantasize about in the shower. Sleep is only a period of rest for my body and mind, not a coveted treat akin to chocolate cake. People everywhere seem to get on with their lives and not give a second thought to sleep, so I will too. Naturally, I will be writing about my progress, and thereby giving an inordinate amount of thought to the subject, but I’m going to use this outlet to eventually let go of my addiction, my dysfunctional relationship with the Land of Nod–the Jonathan Swift reference, not the Bible. I am hoping to maintain my uniqueness in other respects, and not let my nocturnal-ness define me. It’s scary to let go, and I’m sure they’ll be setbacks, just like any diet in the beginning. I’m sure Sean will find this annoying and inconvenient, but I am sick of being so miserable in the morning and having to pretend to get through the day.
I will begin with the snooze alarm. Let’s see what happens. It’s almost midnight now. If the studies are correct, I won’t need any more sleep than I get tonight. I should feel refreshed, awake and ready to educate the future leaders of the world. Here we go.