The science of sleep

Sleep is both my lover and my lifelong enemy. At times, I lie awake waiting for it to seize me, but at other moments I resist and try to fight its wondrous charms.

I’ve always considered myself a night owl. I find that most of my best thoughts come to me at 2 a.m., usually while I’m watching something I haven’t seen in awhile.

For instance, about a week ago – while watching Martin Lawrence’s stand-up comedy special “You So Crazy” – I decided that I was going to stay up all night so I could catch up on some work I had been putting off.

It was Monday at 8 p.m. and I had just finished taking a two-hour nap. I thought that since I had a class in 12 hours, I would just stay up, go to class and return home to my pleasant futon.

As I fought the clutches of my pillow, my mind wandered onto topics that dealt with past, present and future issues: Writing, family, women, Lawrence, school, women, friendships and women.

I had a couple of epiphanies while talking to myself in the kitchen. It’s something about the sound of the refrigerator that gets my mind working.

I figured out why I worry so much about the choices I have to make – because unlike the sweet stability and formulaic nature of my grade school years, each day as an adult has featured the smallest of decisions that has the potential to profoundly affect my future.

I think the reason I find out so much about myself at night is because not only am I pushing my body to the limit, but also it’s just so darn peaceful at night. Everyone in the house lay still as they dream of whatever may come, while I analyze the nooks and crannies that reside in my head.

I ended up staying awake until 12 a.m. Wednesday morning and throughout my day, I went through moments of complete neuroticism, utter exhaustion and deep emotional contemplation.

With little to entertain myself, I was forced to look into my mind and assess what was going on and how I needed to handle it. I don’t think you can truly know yourself until you are alone for hours and have to face what is actually going on in your mind.

And sometimes, even the quiet rumblings of the refrigerator can’t help solve the problem.

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