Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Sunday, September 04, 2005


Some people can function on very little sleep. I am not one of these people and am very jealous of those who get through life on 6 hours a night or so. I have always wished I didn’t need Zs so much. My mom tells me I was sleeping through the night by 3 weeks of age. Even the lure of a warm bottle couldn’t wake me. I believe some people can naturally do with less sleep than others. Like they are born that way. Take my brother for instance. He is two years younger than me and from pretty much the time he could vault out of his crib he would stay awake and play in the toy box in the dark. My mom would hear him and get up and try to return him to his baby jail but he would just jump out again. Finally she would leave him to his own devises only to place him in bed once he had finally fallen asleep amongst his GI Joes in the wee hours. In fact, as we shared a room, his playing would wake me up and I would go into my parent’s room and whine that he was keeping me up. I was kranki even then. And I liked my sleep. My brother still fights to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. His body naturally wants to stay up late. He will probably always be that way.

When I don’t get enough sleep I feel crappy. Like I have drunk about 15 cups of coffee. My stomach gets gnarly and I get headaches that can easily turn into migraines. What is normal sleep for me? I would say 10 hours a night. Honestly, I need that much sleep to feel human. I can make do occassionaly with 8 hours. When I say there are not enough hours in the day to get stuff done I am not kidding. My days are short.

When I was working in the film industry doing 12-18 hour days I was miserable. I did not function well and spent my entire weekends trying to catch up on my sleep. I would sleep for 24-hour periods trying to get ready for the week ahead. I effectively had absolutely no life between working and trying to get enough sleep. That is the main reason why I had to quit the industry. I was getting sick. I have suffered pneumonia and severe anaemia from total exhaustion. And in the film industry you simply cannot call in sick.

So why bring up the topic of sleep right now? Well, very occasionally when I get to sleep and something wakes me up before I get really comatose I won’t be able to sleep the whole night. This happens maybe 4 times a year and it happened last night. I was up all night reading because my neighbour’s cat started wailing (she is out of town) and it woke me up right after I dropped off. Fortunately I had a great book to read of I would have been really out of sorts. Like killing people out of sorts. My cat loves it when I am up all night and compounds my frustration by licking my ear periodically. Usually just when I am starting to get drowsy. I fling her off the bed and then she roars around the house, back end skidding out on the hardwood floors, waking the dead with her stampeding. It just gets plain ugly.

Today I am so grumpy I fear for anybody who knocks at my door. I am fidgety and unable to stay still. I can’t stop yawning and my jaw is starting to ache. I don’t want to actually do anything. I should lie down and try to snooze but I hate that dozy feeling you get from sleeping a lot during the day. I have already called my mom and bitched to her. I even scared the cat with all my arm waving.

Some people get off on the surreal feeling from sleep deprivation. I wish this was fun for me. I feel crappy. I can’t even find any humour to make this post funny. I wish I could be funny right now. I think I am going to go back to bed and start the day over. Take my chances. Redo!


ScottyGee said...

*knock, knock, knock!* "Hello, Kranki. Are you there?" =)

I only sleep about 4-5 hours a night and that is fine for me. I am trying to force myself to start getting at least 7 hours a night, but it's hard for me to go to bed early. I always feel like I am missing something when i go to bed early.

Maybe eating some of Metro's brownies will make you feel better?

My roommate has been asleep on the couch all weekend. You should try it. It works for him! I can't do that though. I always feel worse after getting up from a nap.

SassyFemme said...

I'm one of those peole who needs a lot of sleep, too. Left to my own schedule, I sleep about 9-10 hours a night. Unfortunately for me, with work, I sleep only about 6-7. 7 is if I'm really tired and go to bed early. If I don't get at least 6 hours of sleep my mouth doesn't work when I try to talk, it all comes out in a jumble!

Hope you get some rest this afternoon. Sunday afternoons were made for napping on the couch!

Susie said...

A stampeding cat is funny! At least it is from here. I wish I could sleep more. I average 6 hours a night or so. And sometimes, too often, I have terrible insomnia for days, and sleep only a couple of hours a night. Sometimes I can nap on Sunday afternoons, and I love that. I hope you catch up on your sleep soon. Don't want you killing anyone.

whfropera said...

since the time I was little - up at 6AM, and staying up easily until midnight or later - thats why I'm always online! I'm always dammit awake! And I can never nap - if I nap, then I feel the way you do.
Mostly I wrote because you were talking about that whole film industry sleep-deprivation thing, and when I was finishing my thesis (Amadeus, no less - not exactly a costume-light show) one of my assistant designers would pull 3-4 day in a row all-nighters and talk about "the pretty lights" that he saw. We mostly wanted to kill him, because of course by that time he was USE & LESS.
Sleep well, sleep as much as you damn well want - there are no rules about what your body needs - it needs it and you must listen. :)

mrtl said...

I love afternoon naps. It's like cheating.

Hope tonight's better for you.

fueltank said...

Guess who's not sleeping? Oh, Chester and Fergus are asleep -- Chester woke me up so he could have my side of the bed. Now he's happysleeping.

You know that sleep problems have been a defining feature of my life from the time we met, and they continue to be. When I was out in Vancouver in July I would sleep all night (YAY!) and sleep during the day... I was exhausted.

When I got back from convention in Qu├Ębec I slept for four days -- and now I am back to my poor sleep patterns.

Afternoon naps are wonderful, so long as you can get the whole hour. Waking up before the nap has really settled in can make one very strange. With some of us that's okay, 'cause who can tell?

K and I went to the Canadian National Exhibition (think PNE but BIGGER) and I won her a lion. Which totally freaked the cats out when we got home. She had to put it in the closet so they could calm down.

Tomorrow should be fun.

If you need a good read check out

Pretty much sums up love,if sex = love.

JessicaRabbit said...

I need lots of sleep as well, but I have a hard time getting it. If i lay in bed ten hours, I might get 5 or 6 and then still wander through the day, sleepy and crabby.

When I am really tired, I get flat out mean, rude, and i have to watch myself very carefully so I dont say flippant hurtful things to people. Sucks. And naps make me really crabby.

I am also a night person. Anything before noon to me is stupid early. But I worked nights for so long..

Ahh sleep. I might try that myself right now. Hope you feel better soon girlie girl.

Squirl said...

I need my sleep, too. But I cycle in my sleep habits. Sometimes I can barely get 6 hours per night for weeks at a time. Then there are times that I have to be in bed by 9:00 in order to get up by 5:30.

I think the worst is when I just start to fall asleep and something wakes me. My body thinks its had a nap and refuses to go back to sleep for hours. Somehow it's not the same as waking in the middle of the night for a bathroom trip, after which I usually fall right back to sleep. Whatever, if I don't get the sleep I need I feel really lousy.

eclectic said...

Hope last night was better for you, Kranki! One of the biggest on-going arguments I had with Mr. E during the first year of marriage revolved around my need for 2-3 hours more sleep per night than he needs. Since then, we've both moved closer to center, but sleep can be a HUGE issue.

kalki said...

I'm the same way - need lots of sleep. I tend to catch up on weekends, but if we have a busy weekend during which I can't sleep in (which is a lot of weekends) then I am screwed for the upcoming week.

Come to think of it, I'm exhausted now. Think I'll go take a nap.

spoonleg said...

I so, so, so, agree with you. Some people are just MADE to sleep more, others less. Like your body is on a totally different cylce. I have co-workers who feel groggy and ill and out of sorts if they sleep more than FOUR HOURS. WTF? Holy hell I fucking WISH. I need 8-9 hours of sleep per night, but unfortunately because I'm at work for 14 hours out of the day, I don't usually get that much. I can function with 6-7. Actually, I can function off of NO sleep (I had to learn that in college), but it's not pretty. I get crazy and start speaking in tongues.

When I was younger, my bedtime was always 8pm. My mom said that as I got older- like 12, 13, 14 years old- I never asked her if I could stay up later. Not even during the summer or weekends! I always just assumed bedtime was 8pm and had no problem with that. I wanted to sleep. I swear I kept that 8pm bedtime until I graduated from high school. If I stayed up even until 9, I got super tired and grumpy. I also never stopped napping, not even as a toddler or young child. I never revolted against the nap. I still nap.

Von Krankipantzen said...

scott-wow! I am so envious. I wish I could do with so little sleep. In any case I did nap and I did eat brownies. All is right in the world.

sassy-so you are totally like me. If I only have that little sleep I too become mute. I don't even expend the energy to talk. It is weird.

susie- I love naps too. I really feel for folks with insomnia. My very few bouts per year are bad enough. I can't imagine persistent problems. Brutal.

whfropera-I have to listen to my body or it fails me. I think about that a lot with my cnacer. Whether those terrible long days and all nighters in film contributed to it all. I will be better about it now.

mrtl- I love naps too. Do you sleep less at night after a nap? I don't. I sleep the same nap of not.

fuel-it is like you get so exhausted that you have to make up all the sleep loss. What a shame it can't all even out. The lion story is really funny. I can just picture it.

jess-I think that is the worse, to know you need more sleep but be unable to get it. I too get hella grumpy when tired. It is the only time I can totally lose it. FREAKOUT!

squirl- we are the same, I think. That is what happened last night. I was woken up before properly asleep. Game over.

eclectic-I worry about that actually because so many people don't understand and think I am lazy for sleeping so much. I can see how that would be a problem in a marriage.

kalki-more sleepy people like me. I hope you nap was lovely.

spoonleg-it is very challenging to work shift work and have big sleep needs. Your life just becomes so small. I have to admit to going to bed a few times at 8 pm lately. Feels very good.

Sharkey said...

Ha--your last few lines gave me a chuckle. JP's mom used to make him go back to bed and 'start over' when he woke up crabby.

Udge said...

Re going to bed at 8pm: that's the One True Path.

The secret is to do what you body wants. If you're tired, go to bed - whatever time it might be. If you're awake, get up - whatever time it might be. Makes life in my experience very much more enjoyable, that letting the clock tell you what to do.

Von Krankipantzen said...

sharkey-that is so cute. It is actually a great idea. I have done it a few time myself. Especially after early morning nasty medical tests. Just start over again.

udge-I am totally learning to listen to my body now. Lots of naps and early nights. Yummy!