Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Monday Musing, Sleepless in Upstate New York Edition

Here it is, Monday morning, Memorial Day in the USA, a holiday, a day that, in theory, I can sleep in on, and here it is, 5:45 in the morning and I am up. Just like yesterday. Just like the day before.

For the better part of a week, my sleep schedule has gotten totally borked. For most of my adult life, I have been someone who wakes up before my alarm, usually by 10 or 15 minutes. On Wednesday or Thursday last week I woke up ahead of my alarm, convinced it was time to get up, my brain firing at a fairly high level. I was halfway out of bed when I looked at the clock and saw it was only 4. On that day I managed to go back to sleep for another hour or so.

I don’t necessarily mind all that much on some levels, except on some of thee days I’m tired when I wake up, and could use the extra sleep. Yawning uncontrollably from mid-morning on at work is not what I want to be doing, but it seems to be where I’m at right now.

For a year early in our marriage, we lived with my in-laws. They were in their 70s at the time and had the craziest sleep cycles of anyone I have ever known. More often than not one of them would be on their way to bed just as I was getting up to get ready for work–around 4:30 in the morning (I had a long train ride in those days). It seems fairly normal for older people to have wonky sleep schedules; I am hardly a senior citizen at the point, so I’m not sure why it’s happening.

It’s not entirely bad, however. I’ve written the first four paragraphs of this piece, half asleep, without the benefit of coffee (yeah, I know, it shows) and I’m much more awake than I was before. On Saturday, in the period when I was in bed trying to get back to sleep, I came up with a solution to a minor manuscript problem. Both Saturday and Sunday I got in two to three hours of what I felt like were quality writing time between 6 and 8 in the morning.

I guess all there is to do is to ride it out and try to get something useful out of this while it’s going on. My sleep schedule periodically gets out of whack like this, and it always gets reset. Might as well use this ‘extra time’ well.

5 Responses

  1. Sounds like you're taking it on the chin, hopefully it'll get back to normal soon. Those times between sleeping and waking are when some of the best ideas come. The trick is remembering them.

  2. At least you remembered to post something today. I'm a slacker! 🙂
    Well, I did get up at 6:15 this morning and went to the gym, so maybe not a total slacker.

  3. Nick: I actually slept to my alarm yesterday morning, hooray! But today, I woke up around 3:30 and was on and off until it was time to get up. Boo.

    Stacy: Not a slacker at all. The gym? What's that?

  4. I think everyone's sleep gets knocked off schedule once in a while. Mine is now, too, but the opposite of yours – I'm sleeping late. I figure it'll go back to normal soon. I hope yours does too. 🙂

  5. Thanks for dropping by the vacation hop! Weird about the black widows in East Hampton. I never saw any spiders there, but I remember lots of creepy shells on the beach that looked like aliens! I just looked them up and found they are "skate’s egg cases, and are sometimes called Mermaid’s Purse." Those things were very weird….

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