For whatever reason…exhaustion?…my body decided to ignore all of the usual summonings this morning (including the kitten lying on my head and licking my ear) and sleep until almost 11 am. After crashing around 1:30 am. Nine hours and change. My normal routine is to bag maybe six hours plus an hour of Twitter before rising. It sure feels good to get more sleep than I need on occasion (my usual idea of a nice long slumber is seven to eight hours), but I’ve always fought against going to bed before midnight. I sometimes take hour-long naps around 4 or 5 pm, except they aren’t naps. When I go under I sink to the bottom of the pond. A lot of people sleep in the manner of dogs or cats — they float on the surface and are woken by the slightest ripple. Not me.
I know, I know…I posted a sleeping riff 17 months ago but what the hell.
My inability to crash before midnight or 1 am is my parents’ fault. They sometimes made me go to bed at 8 or 8:30 pm when I was grade-school age. I remember being furious about lying under the sheets when it was still light out during the summer months, especially when I could hear friends of mine still playing in the street below. I used to lie there and seethe and ask God why I had such fucked-up parents. I resolved to stay up late from those days on. I never made my kids go to bed too early when they were six or seven or eight — I didn’t have them on very many school nights (my ex had custody) but when I did they always stayed up until at least nine or so. Weekends were free-for-alls. Sometimes it was a chore to get them to crash around midnight or 1 am, especially Dylan.
My general attitude is that sleep is obviously necessary but don’t overdo it. I work on the column about 11 or 12 hours per day. Sometimes I tell myself that too much sleeping is a form of cowardice — a way to hide. I solemnly believe that the same losers who take extra-long showers tend to sleep longer than go-getters. My late schizophrenic sister was like this. For her sleeping was the best part of the day.
At the same time I’ve never forgotten a line spoken by Thayer David in the old Journey to the Center of the Earth (’59) in which he described overnight sleeping sessions as “little slices of death.” I’ve always figured it’s better to stay up a little longer and wake up a little earlier because I’ve got a really long sleep coming.