May 27th, 2008

summer reading

Back from the Land of the Lotus-Eaters

Every once in awhile - most often coinciding with some sort of holiday - I need extra sleep. Lots and lots of extra sleep. Last week-end was one of those times. In the course of normal life, if I can get somewhere between 6 and 8 hours of sleep most nights of the week, I consider myself lucky. Naps are avoided at all costs because even 15-30 minutes of sleep during the day will mean hours and hours of sleeplessness that night.

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I never really know if these marathon sleep sessions are nothing more than catching up on the sleep deficit that builds over the course of normal life, or if it's my body fending off some potential illness. The inevitable result when getting back to the usual schedule is a day or two of feeling like I'm facing some sort of cruel and unusual punishment involving nap deprivation. I've been up about 4 hours and have had twice my usual daily dose of caffeine already, and yet I feel as if I'm sleep walking. I know this feeling will pass and soon enough the thought of a nap in the middle of the day will bring the usual horror, but at the moment I'm wondering how it's possible to get through the day without some mid-day sleep.

How does a person get the right amount of rest, day in and day out? I've had trouble getting to sleep for as long as I can remember and it's "normal" for me to feel some tiredness during the day nearly all of the time. How do people find out the actual amount of sleep they should be getting on a regular basis, then get that amount of sleep?

It would be nice to know not only because it would be terrific to feel rested most of the time, but also because it would be nice not to suffer the lost week-end effect at those times when the sleep deficit comes due and my body steps in to collect.