I have never been known to deviate from my pattern (because of the OCD that I seem to exhibit) but one thing that can completely throw me off my day is – how many hours of sleep have I gotten? To all the football, tennis and F1 fans out there, telecasts of these sports always happen at odd times for some which means we usually stay up at night, eagerly watching and thus lose many hours of precious sleep. The same happens to me and I invariably need to stay up late for any sports telecast because living in India means you’re either ahead of the telecast or waaaay ahead of the telecast (in the case of the US sports telecast). This means that for around two weeks, I am forced to live on around 3 hours of sleep. Thus I turn into a zombie during the day, walking around in a dream state.
The reason for me bringing up this weird thought (besides being the topic of my blog post) is what does sleep actually achieve and why do people love it so much? Of course, if I’m being scientific then sleep is essential for the human body because it helps to recharge our energy levels. It’s sort of a restart mechanism that our body needs to go through everyday for an average of 6 to 8 hours, age wise of course. But there are those who can survive on just 3 to 4 hours of sleep (ergo me). I have gone almost 27 hours without any sleep and the day’s schedule included – gym, college, movie, dinner with friends and an entire night staying up with friends. Now I know that the schedule listed before didn’t seem tiring and I might have been able to catch a few minutes sleep here and there but truthfully, I never realised how long I was awake for until I came back home and slept straight for 4 hours. The odd thing is that your body continues to function so long as you never close your eyes. Once you close your eyes, your body begins to think that “Finally, she’s going to sleep now!” and starts shutting down. So your eyelids become droopy, your speech becomes slurry and you start yawning. Until then, it’s as if you had a good night’s sleep all along.
There are also the other extremes on the sleep line – insomniacs. And I can say that I’ve been on both sides. Sometimes there is something just so heavy and troubling on your mind that no matter how comfortable the sheets and blankets are, you will never be able to sleep. Again, listing examples in the months after tragedy struck our family, I never used to be able to sleep for more than 2 hours because my body would just refuse to allow me to sleep. No matter how much I counted sheep in my head, I could just never get myself to the point where I was unconscious to the world. Methods to try sleeping when you cannot have hardly been used by me like reading a boring book (I simply cannot find a book that’s boring enough :-P) or sleeping pills (never have trusted medicines, never will!) But some people depend on it and swear by it, so I guess each man to his own.
But ultimately, the sweet pleasure of your brain being semi-switched off for more than a couple of hours and floating away to an imaginary world (yes, I’m talking about dreams and not hallucinations) is something that I truly look forward to every day. Now don’t finish reading and say that “No I can think of so many other things I would be happier doing” because I certainly cannot think of doing anything better! And the best part is that I have a knack for being able to sleep anywhere and at anytime! Now isn’t that a very useful quality to possess? I certainly think so!