Getting Enough Sleep–It Feels Good, Cuz it Be Good

Question to anyone reading this: did you get enough sleep last night?

Be honest.  I won’t tell anyone.

No?

Me, neither.

And I know you’re not being flippant when you answer, because I’m not being flippant, either.

I didn’t get enough sleep last night.  Or enough sleep two nights before.  And I certainly wasn’t getting enough sleep two weeks ago.

How did I know?

Because I got a lot of very interesting and disturbing physical symptoms.

Signs I Wasn’t Getting Enough Sleep

Day One – Delirious Deception

The first day after not getting enough sleep isn’t so bad.  But of course, this is how it tricks you.  I actually feel a little buzzed, a touch giddy.  My mind is still relatively sharp, and I even feel a little bit more motivated to get things done.  I make jokes at work that are engaging, fun.  Hi-larious.

I get home feeling proud.  Could I go for a nap?  Sure.  But I’ve job–I mean, got some other work to do.  So let’s do that, instead.  Bedtime will come eventually.

Day Two – Just Five More Minutes

Bedtime does come eventually–three or four hours before I’m supposed to wake up.  My eyelids are slow to lift; my body is slow to rise.  Everything feels a bit heavy.  I have a headache, but nothing a bit of Aleve can’t handle.  I just gotta get through the day.

Concentration is tough. The three meetings that I must engage in make it even harder.  People ask me questions; I know I know the answer.  I mumble something.  They give me strange looks.  Great; I’ve alienated even more people from my life.  Why did I say that dumb thing?

Skip to Day Five – Smear-My-Face Exhausted

I hurt.  But I gotta get this project done.  Focus, B.  Why do I feel like throwing up all of a sudden?  This headache has been hear for the last three days.  And Aleve isn’t working anymore.  Stop getting distracted, B!  I’d love to take a day off, but I gotta work.  Everyone’s counting on me.  But no one likes me, so why am I even trying?  Why doesn’t anyone like me?  What is their problem?

Did I misspell something earlier?  It still kinda makes sentse, its gonna.

Skip to Day Nine – This Be a–a Suck

Everthing stupid.  Hate all.  Why is tree so crying don’t wanna work.  What I was doing?  Huh?  Ugh Gujhvh.

Skip to Day Eleven – SYS3TM F@lUr3

I can’t see.

The Deterioration of Health without Enough Sleep

I wish I could say the last few sections were me exaggerating, but I’m not.  Managing my sleep patterns has been a struggle for me since college.  I was not a college party-goer; however, I still became involved in the “finish reports at the last minute” club, all the way up to me hovering in my dorm door, hand poised over the printer’s paper tray as it spit out my latest “masterpiece.”

Today, I have multiple projects that I am juggling as I frantically learning to manage my time better.  Even though I gave up my proofreading business for now, I’m busier than ever–and with seemingly less hours in the day to complete everything.  My weekends are my only respite, but even then I spend 50% of the time visiting friends that I neglected during the week.

In a week’s time, I will be flying out to Europe for a week and a half for a global young leadership forum that my manager at work nominated me to attend.  The forum will be full of people–a plethora of networking and business opportunities that I must–need–to take advantage of.  And I absolutely need to be at the top of my game.

It’s bad enough that I’m a socially awkward super introvert.  I certainly can’t afford to be a half-asleep, overly anxious, mortifyingly moody, socially awkward super introvert.

I’m juggling a lot of balls, including my sleep quality.  Now that life’s momentum is truly running in my direction, I can’t afford to drop anything now.

One site that I learned of last week and am thoroughly impressed with (and fully intend to immerse myself in over the next few months) is Tuck.com.  Tuck: Advancing Better Sleep, is a online community of valuable, slumber-based information.  It’s dedicated to bringing not just more information on sleep itself, but also offers unbiased reviews on resources and products that will help you sleep better.

Honestly, as much as I love sleep, I’m surprised I’ve never heard of them.  But I intend to delve more into what they say, especially on the ties between sleep and mental health.

Enough Sleep will Give You…Enough

I know I am the worst perpetrator of not getting enough sleep.  I am also the last person who should be giving advice about it.  That being said, the last three weeks of adverse physical and emotional systems were more than enough to make me nervous.  If I want to be able to maintain all of the projects that I am working on, I need to be in the best condition I can be.

And as simple as it may seem, it begins with good sleep.

Though in this case, it will end with sleep.

Cuz it be night, and it’s my bedtime.

Circling the Drain: When You Do Everything Except What You Want

I first thought of the phrase “circling the drain” when I was having lunch with a coworker sometime in the midst of 2017.  At the time, I didn’t think more of the phrase than how effective its analogy was for the point I was trying to make.  You know–some process wasn’t being done cuz so-and-so was dragging their collective feet:

“And they just keep circling the drain,” I finished, flopping back in my chair with the dramatic flair I adore so much.  My friend, to their credit, indulged my self-righteous tantrum with a grunt of sympathy.

“Circling the Drain” Gets Real

Later that year, while I was visiting my older sister during the holiday season, the phrase popped back into my head.  Her boyfriend at the time called to get advice on buying office furniture. She stepped out of the living room to take the call while I watched Superstore (good show, by the way.  Kind of like if Scrubs had been filmed Office-style…and set in Walmart.  But I digress.)

When she hung up and returned to the room, she looked puzzled.  “He found an office chair that he really wants,” she explained, settling down to continue crafting a model train she had received for Christmas.  “But it’s really expensive, so he’s not going to get it.”

“Oh,” I said.  I could kind of see his point.  It’s always daunting when you see a price tag you don’t expect.  “So, he’s just gonna wait and save up for it?”

“Nope.  He’s gonna get something cheap and smaller that is uncomfortable and hurts his back,” she declared.

“…Huh.”  It was the most sympathetic sound I could make.  

My sister shrugged with helpless exaggeration–full arm flail and big WTF eyes.  “All I know,” she said, “is that it took me years to find the dining table I wanted–but when I found it, I knew. And I didn’t buy anything until I did.”

Patience is a Virtue and Economical

My sister’s always been good like that–patience of a saint and the conviction of a…well, a saint.  I, however, have often been guilty of settling for something that was a mere fraction of the price of my true heart’s desire.

Because I really, really wanted it?

No.

Because I felt so much better leaving with something–something–rather than nothing.

Which means I’ve also run into the same problem as her boyfriend.  I’d buy the half-pricer that would not only look as cheap as it was, it would also break after a few uses.  Or worse, it wouldn’t work at the quality I desired (*gasp*), and I would resent the very site of it, leaving it to collect dust somewhere in the annals of my home.

So what would I do?

Since I’d already put out half the amount, I’d buy another cheap-quality item from another brand, hoping I would have better luck.  But often, it would also fail.

The pattern could go on a couple more times.  And then, miserable and frustrated when the fourth item fails, I’d have the most horrible revelation.

I’ve spent more money buying multiple cheap things than if I’d just bought the one expensive, high-quality thing first.

This phenomenon–afraid of taking the plunge into what you actually want, and instead finding lesser ways to defer the yearning inside of you–I have lovingly termed, “circling the drain.”

Taking the plunge–literally and figuratively–can help you escape the cycle of circling the drain and introduce you to adventure.

Ways To Circle the Drain

You don’t just “circle the drain” with material purchases.  This phenomenon is alive and well in many aspects of life.

Two of my lifelong loves are writing and singing.  I love doing both anytime, all the time. However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve found it necessary to narrow down what it is I actually want to do with both of these loves.

  • For writing?  I want to make a living writing and publishing fiction.  I have probably 5 fully developed plot lines running through my head.
  • For singing?  I want to create a band and perform for small venues, creating auras of warmth and intimacy for my listeners.  I love jazz and want to recreate the somber, intimate atmosphere that the genre’s heydays originally promoted.

Here’s the kicker…I made these revelations nearly 10 years ago.  Soooo…

Why are You Still Circling the Drain?

Well, that’s a great question.

Some common reasons for circling the drain:

  • Fear
  • Uncertainty
  • The work, time, and commitment needed to fulfill the goal can be overwhelming
  • Fear
  • Lack of confidence
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Fear
  • Fear
  • Fear.

They may not be the best reasons, but they are my answer.

For writing, I resumed this blog to help regain momentum and strengthen my fiction writing.  And I have a job as a technical writer. And I wrote a manuscript about 4 years ago that I’m still editing.

And as for singing, I joined a choir last year!  Yeah!

…I mean, I had to quit because of the strain on my schedule, but still.

Stop Circling the Drain and Dive In

“Okay,” I hear you all saying.  “That’s great. You’re doing what you love.  But, are these activities actually helping you achieve the goals that you really want?”

I can scoff.  I can stutter.  I can sputter.

But your question raises an excellent point.

I’m doing things that are nearing the ballpark of what I love–which is an improvement of how I used to be.  However, even as I involve myself in these activities, there is still the anxiety and and the pull in the back of my mind. The little disappointed voice whispers in my ear, slightly shrill yet frail from years of mumbling:

“But, you still haven’t fully let go.”

But you know? That’s okay for now.  At least I am fully aware of the choices I’m making at this moment.

Because I know I’m not going to circle the drain forever.

When the moment comes–and I’ll know it, just like you will when you listen to how you’re feeling at the time–I will release and dive in.

And that will be a fun day for everyone.

With risk comes great rewards…