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Sleepless over Sleep

It’s horrible to not be able to write for so long. But I guess that happens when you get hit by a tornado of work and time slots start clashing and your prof sends you a mail saying he wants to visit your work place.

All of that left me a bit sleep-deprived. Or so I think. So I decided to find out.

The first article i found was this. Basically, that’s BBC telling you that 8 hours of sleep is unnatural, that humans never slept 8 hours at a stretch but broke their sleep into 2 cycles of 4 hours naps and that modern technology (the invention of lights that lengthened the day-time for humans) is to blame for less rest time which resulted in the present 8 hour cycle sleep cycle.

This was not a very encouraging post to start with considering I count my 8 hours and sleep and can go on if the alarm doesn’t ring or no one bothers to shake me out of my dreams.

Then I found this which was better because it talks about the importance of sleep and how you should definitely get your share of sleep. It delves into the science of sleep, talking about non-REM and REM cycles as well. Aah, see ? it says most humans require 7.75 hours (scientists and their precise numbers) of sleep. Now, I feel better.

And then I stumbled upon this – a Sleep Profiler. It’s a bit long but I went through it anyway and here’s what it says:

1. I am an evening person stuck in a morning job which is why the fatigue towards the afternoon. (I knew that!)

2. I do get the amount of sleep that I should get.(Did not know that.)

3. My room is conducive to sleeping. (No wonder I can’t study there!)

3. I am just worried that I won’t get enough sleep and so think I don’t get enough sleep. (Huh?!)

Which got me thinking : how many of us spend time worrying that we don’t get enough sleep ? I now know that I am one of those who are sleepless over sleep.

I guess it’s easy to remedy. I know I sleep enough and that completely takes away the excuse : “I am tired because I didn’t sleep enough”. Just mentally knowing you sleep well, helps one to physically stay up and about the whole day. At least, that worked for me.

The challenge for me was to wake up early. But I am doing it rather well now. All it takes is one day of getting late and knowing the latest you can sleep till, not setting a half an hour snooze buffer and catching a nap in the bus! I am not saying I love the morning schedule. I just don’t struggle anymore and that makes all the difference! it’s liberating.

But the most interesting thing I came across was this :

“Some scientists argue that the very question “why do we sleep?” is mistaken, and that the real question should be “why are we awake?”. If you are safe and warm and fed, it is a waste of energy to be awake and moving around (and possibly getting into trouble). Far better, this argument goes, is to be awake only when you have to and sleep when it suits you.” (Courtesy BBC)

Safe and warm and fed in bed. Yeah, why would one get up?

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Kitty Cat

The place where I live has a cat – coal black with glowing green eyes. Now, I have never been particularly fond of cats – I prefer dogs- but this one stayed out of my way and so never bothered me – till a few days ago.

I dropped one of my shirts outside and kitty decided that it makes a wonderful and cozy bed.  I swear it freaked the lights out of me when I opened the door that night to find her stretched out on my shirt, staring at me with steady green eyes – I couldn’t decide if she was just politely wondering who woke her out of her sleep or getting ready to scratch the hell out of the offender.  Ok, that sounds paranoid. But I really wish there was a cat equivalent of the dog’s wagging-tail-when-happy sign.

Anyway, kitty decided to stay around for the next few days. She’d shadily sneak around other doors and stare (glare?) at me as I went to and fro doing my laundry or filling the water bottles. And I’d feel as comfortable as that tiny kid who is new comer to a school and has the eyes of the whole class on him while he is being introduced – sort of like Puss in Puss in Boots.

The last time I was waiting for the washing machine to stop spinning – it told me 8 minutes left- and yet again kitty was staring (glaring?) at me. Only this time, having nothing to do, I was staring back – wondering what she was thinking and then wondering if she was wondering what I am thinking and then wondering what cats think -“Hmmmm, fish” “Hmmmm sleep” is the only thing that comes to my head.

And that’s the last I have seen of her! My shirt (which I was utterly lazy to pick) is gone as well. You know what ? I sort of miss her. To some tiny extent.

Damn it!

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2 Weeks Later

Its been two weeks into my new job.

It’s pretty much the same everyday. The everyday struggle to wake up at 5:30 am, the running for the bus, the sleeping in the bus, the extra strong coffee to wake me up, the work, the water breaks, the lunch, the back to work, the thought of going back and crashing, the coming back to home, the packing dinner, the not-able-to-sleep syndrome, the mail checking and replying and the final crashing before its midnight.

The first day, I was so paranoid that I literally woke up every 20 minutes throughout the night. I took 15 minutes to convince myself that I had worn my formals the right way – the shirt goes with the trousers, the hair is pinned and neat, the shirt is ironed and the shoes don’t hurt that much.

That day at work, I was left jobless for half a day, spent lunch listening to Chinese and spoke three lines the whole day. Depressing. I was pretty broken and hearing stories about other people’s amazing first day didn’t help a tiny bit.

That’s when I saw this note I had stuck on my board ages ago.

“Without rivers there would be no ocean. Without hardship there would be no growth. Hardships are the opportunity to grow a stronger self.”

Since that first day though, a lot has changed. I dont keep waking up at night. Everyday I set the alarm 5 minutes late and now wake up comfortably at 5:45 am. I wear formals with the same care that I wore jeans. I don’t run for the bus. I have a good breakfast. From no conversation, I have progressed to morning greetings and small talks about food and India and NTU. My supervisor smiles and talks each time we meet. I am at my desk the whole day happily trying to put together on paper the temperature system they want.  Lunch is chicken rice but sometimes pizza. I get back at 5:45 pm, rest a bit, attack University work and have dinner.  And then I sleep by midnight.

The plan now? To get some more interesting work done since I have so much time on my hands. Ok, not so much but more than what I had last semester when I was working on the solar car!

So, this week’s score:

1. Waking up on time and not sleeping at work – tick!

2. Publicity material for Project Gratitude -tick!

3. Having breakfast everyday – tick!

There’s a lot lined up for the next week. Time to attack that now!

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Now it hits me!

Things I just recently realised.

– Its 2012.

– I am no longer recent in Singapore. It has been two and a half years since I stepped into NTU.

– I have to wake up everyday at 6:00 am for work.

– I own an iron now so I can be all well-dressed and wrinkle-free at office.

– I end up cleaning my room every 15 days to force some order into it.

– I still do not know how to cook.

– I can be too lazy to go get food even when my tummy is noisily telling me it’s hungry.

– I have 22 weeks of internship ahead of me.

Bring it on 2012!

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