I’m not sure if I’ve ever qualified as a full-blown insomniac, but a good run has been made at the title. Back in high school and college, I’d survive for months only sleeping 3-4 hours per night. As recently as 10 years ago, I was working 3 jobs and getting about that much sleep 4-5 nights per week. Granted, that was a short-term period, but still… that’s not a lot of shut eye.
Now, if I stay up or have trouble sleeping, there’s a bill that comes due the next day. Call it getting older, I call it bodily rebellion. It seems like down to a cellular level, systems go on strike in protest of shabby treatment. Brain fogginess, slow reflexes, and a general bumbling demeanor pervade the day.
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All right, so that’s not entirely true… There’s definitely times when I’d like to be asleep when my brain and basic body chemistry seem to be conspiring against me. However, by and large, I don’t “suffer” from insomnia in a traditional sense.
Back in the day, I used to survive on a couple hours of sleep for months at a time. It became a regular thing for me and I found my own ways to deal with it. In high school, it was watching the local PBS marathons in the hopes of catching a block for 2 or possibly even 4 episodes of Red Dwarf or maybe some Red Green. Remember, this is back before streaming, DVDs, and widespread TV-on-VHS. Cue the old man voice, but we had to actually wait for things to show up on TV!
To this day, I don’t “suffer” from insomnia. It’s a part of my life that I deal with and try to account for. Times when I need sleep, I’ll do everything possible to make myself conducive to being ready for bed – sleepy time tea, reading, and melatonin are fast friends at this point. It doesn’t work 100% of the time, but it’s better than nothing.
However, I’m not scared to be awake late at night (or early in the morning). As I type this, it’s half past midnight and I have no regrets. Of course, being self employed, I have the chance to account for this and adapt my schedule. It’s a luxury, but it’s also one that I pay for too – go ahead and ask me about my health insurance and pension plan.