Monday, January 30, 2012

My Sleep Habits.

My sleeping habits are something I don’t discuss with most people. I used to, but then I got one too many judgmental reactions, so I stopped. It’s been on my mind a lot because I’m slipping back towards an abnormal schedule again, and I hate myself for it.

The summer between sophomore and junior year was when I developed the problem of staying up later and sleeping in later. I’d be going to bed at three or four in the morning and sleeping past noon. There were days where I could ‘fix’ my schedule by pulling an all-nighter and going to bed by 7pm. This would ensure 12+ hours of sleep, waking up at a decent hour, and feeling well-rested.

I continued that pattern until I graduated college – getting by during the semester because of obligations and surviving the summer with my all-nighter fixes. Once I graduated, everything got so much worse.

I had a lot on my shoulders. My health issues were new, my relationship was shaky, I hadn’t found a job, and now I was away from the comforts of college and seeing my friends all the time. It was a combination of anxiety and likely a small helping of depression that led to the complete destruction of my sleeping schedule.

There was a point in time where I was staying up until eight or nine in the morning, then sleeping all day long, until nine or even ten at night. There were nights I relied on my tried-and-true all-nighter fix, only to find myself sleeping for a ridiculous amount of time, usually into the following afternoon (meaning about 18 hours). It became a pattern because I wasn’t exactly happy to be waking up at 9pm; the disappointment and shame I felt only propelled the urge to sleep all day.

I’ve slowly been able to fix that problem; it hasn’t been that bad in a while. Still, I find myself staying up late and being unable to get out of bed in the morning. My body craves 12 hours of sleep. There’s no motivation to wake up at a decent hour because if I do, I have more hours in the day to realize how much of a failure I am. When I sleep in until 2pm, by the time I fully wake up and get ready for the day, it’s nearly dinnertime and there’s a lot less self-criticism at night.

But I can’t deny that I feel terrible. It helps me avoid the harsh reality that I’m failing at life by not having a job, but then I feel ashamed that I’m wasting my life away. I can’t win either way and it’s frustrating.

I’m keeping the comments closed on this one because I don’t want sympathy or words of advice. Everyone in my life already says “just get up early,” “set an alarm and force yourself to get up,” “make your job search your job.” None of these helps or motivates me; instead, I feel worse because those things don’t come easily to me. If you feel compelled to say something on this topic, feel free to e-mail me.