Saturday, November 05, 2005


If you sat five random friends together and asked them to list five essentials of life, I am certain that the lists would not overlap. Except that I am also certain that all would include one thing: sleep.

Question: how do you know if you’re not getting enough sleep?

People have heard me say “sleep is overrated,” but I don’t mean it. And in the last 24 hours I have had the following signals that maybe I’m not getting enough of slow-wave and REM activity:

I had to take a break from participating in the Law School retreat today because in the middle of the morning session I started to think that words spoken by a colleague sitting across from me were sounding awfully much like a lullaby, so that I began to feel an overwhelming urge to snuggle into the shoulder of another colleague not far from me, just because, well, because his shoulder looked like it was in a perfect position for a head rest;

I subsequently went to the local café, ordered a double espresso and gulped it down with such speed that I surprised myself. Unfortunately, I then dozed off, right there, still clutching the empty cup, thereby missing the first part of an afternoon session of the retreat.

Oh, and yesterday, while hiking up and around Gibraltar Rock at dusk, I found myself seriously engaged in a discussion of what would be the consequences of taking a little repose right there on the forest floor*.

I worry that I will fall asleep while delivering a lecture, or while riding Mr. B. The motion is just right for it.

What remedy? Get more sleep you say. My answer: not so easy. I give up on the day late. Very late. Sounds wake me at night. And, inevitably, I look at the clock, see no digit larger than 4 and I get up, thinking: surely it’s time.

Time for what? For putting away dishes carelessly left out hours earlier on the coffee table?

I don’t really suffer from insomnia. I just don’t finish the night in the same way that others do. Or maybe I’m not the only one thinking in those dark wee hours that much needs to be done -- fields need to be plowed and machines need to be built before the sun crosses the horizon and a new day sets in. Maybe.

* Gibraltar Rock, near dusk, tempting:
Madison Nov 05 043