Sleep-drunk… and still writing.

19.5 hours. Interrupted only once. By a desire to have a sip of water. In a state of semi-consciousness, not truly even awake. 19.5 hours. Which equates to waking up at… 3 p.m. Oh. My. Goodness.

I can confidently say I have never, to my knowledge, ever slept that long in my entire life. Unless I was, like, two days old or something. But I can’t actually remember that.

I had a series of odd dreams (about e-mails I was writing to people, and oddly enough, I had e-mails from several of those people once I’d woken up). The results of sleeping that long: a slightly sore rib cage (I sleep on my stomach), and a foggy sort of consciousness, not yet cured by caffeiene.

What could prompt such a slumber? Well, I figure, on the one hand, that it was long over due: I’ve probably got a sleep debt which began around, oh, say, sophomore year of high school, when I began my obsession with getting things done… and subsequently foregoing sleep to do so. In high school, I thought staying up till midnight or 1 a.m. daily was terrible; but I had to do it, in order to get homework done, volunteer around town, write for the newspapers I was interning for, go to student council and karate classes, etc., etc. Then came college. I had fewer commitments, but I owed them more time: my double major, the school paper, writing my weekly news column, and spending time at my journalism internships, plus campus volunteerism. Then came grad. school: obsessing over my writing, investing more time than ever into freelancing and my column, and trying to keep in touch with friends and family. Then came this past month: arriving in England, diving into accelerated coursework which includes reading Ulysses and drafting one extended piece of journalism per week, plus writing my news column…

Then came last week: flying to DC from London on Tuesday (thus losing a night of sleep), participating in a variety of activities at a conference/orientation for 72 hours (resulting in literally 4 hours of sleep a night), and then flying back to London on Friday (losing another night of sleep), so that I found myself, back in my dorm room at Gonville and Caius at 7:30 p.m., staring at my bed, staring at my suitcase, staring at my bed again, grabbing my toothbrush, giving the pearly whites a quick cleaning, diving under the covers… and waking up to the chiming of the nearby church bells.

I counted the rings: one, two, three. It must be 3 a.m., I reasoned. Not bad: a solid seven hours, with a few more left to go before morning. I had a killer headache and was very, very hungry. My rib cage hurt (odd), and I sat up to get a sip of water. Then I looked at my watch. It was 3. But it was 3 p.m., not 3 a.m. Oops.

I guess sometimes when you push yourself so much, your body just takes over at some point and says: OK, you are officially done. Now you shall sleep for… 19.5 hours.

But sleeping that long doesn’t even leave you feeling that great. I’m officially showered, dressed, and awake, having had some snacks and water, and am now preparing for nightly dinner at the Caius dining hall. But I still have a headache… oh well. I shall awaken at some point, I suppose.

Ah, the trials of those who try to force 24 hours in a day to magically become 48. It eventually catches up to you… even if it takes several years.

2 thoughts on “Sleep-drunk… and still writing.

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