Too much sleep may be bad thing

I used to sleep. At least, I think I did.
There must have been a time when my mother placed me carefully in my bed and I drifted off to sleep instantly and effortlessly. Alas, that no longer is the case.
Teenagers train for sleeping like runners train for marathons, although that wasn’t the situation in my teenage years. I grew up on a farm and there were morning chores to do.
This isn’t a complaint because I leapt from bed eager for the work at hand and to prove I was of value despite my size and gender; when voices said girls couldn’t do such things.
Watch me, my heart said. No lounging in bed until midday for me.
I do remember enforced naps when I was four. Oh, how I hated naps then and perhaps this is when sleep began to take on a negative hue for me. I stared at the ceiling while I waited and listened for the clock to announce my freedom.
Usually, I fell asleep but not without a fight; not without trying very hard not to sleep in order to provide adequate evidence that I was of an age where I could abandon the inconvenience of said naps that were a serious interruption of play.
And now, I just don’t sleep. I want to, I really do. I love my bed, my favourite space, especially on cold winter nights; the wind howling while I’m tucked safely beneath more than my quota of blankets and a hot water bottle on my toes.
Ahh, sanctuary.
Having proclaimed my earnest desire to sleep, I’m not sure that’s completely true now that I think about it. I don’t do much to help myself. I don’t follow any pre-sleep rituals. I don’t slow things down and turn off my gadgets and meditate and drink sleepy time tea.
So I should not complain and I’m not really complaining. I’m just stating a fact: I don’t sleep.
One night last week, for example, I was up at 3 a.m. digging in the freezer for banana bread. I’m sure most people eat at 3 a.m. No? I was afraid of that.
I wasn’t even hungry but a snack seemed a good idea at the time. And while I was up, I noticed a book of Kakuro puzzles sitting open on the counter and, well, one thing led to another and I thought just one puzzle probably would make me sleepy.
Three or four puzzles later, I still was wide awake.
I make lists at night when I can’t sleep. When I was younger, I did some of my best writing in the middle of the night. I can’t do that now. My brain no longer is a willing accomplice.
I tell myself I’ll do better, that I need rest–that my brain needs rest. But then I read a study from Britain that said too much sleep can “double the risk of Alzheimer’s.”
I can’t take that chance. So I think I’ll continue eating banana bread at 3 a.m. and wandering the halls until I decide to do something else.
I could call Susie and invite her to meet up in the middle of the night for a game of Parcheesi? We are fellow non-sleepers; members of a society so secret that even we don’t know when the next meeting is or the pledge or the secret handshake.
But Susie and I hold the record for not sleeping at night, that much we know. So as we wander and stare and wince, we know we’re not alone.
wendistewart@live.ca

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