I remember before college I didn’t need so much sleep. I think it was sometime after college, when I got my second, really stressful job, that I started needing sleep quite as much. That job killed me; I was unqualified to be a programmer* and out of sheer stress I spent the day surfing ebay and reading the Boston netgoth mailing list, waiting for the evening parties.
*(having been a double major in media theory and graphic design as an undergrad. I dropped out of Intro to Computer Science, as it bored me to tears…. and I had started dating J then and was giving him the time I needed to be spending in the lab.)
Anyway, I eventually had to quit that job, but I was so stressed out that the day I quit I came down with the flu. It was like my entire system collapsed.
And thanks to grad school, I’ve been aggressively taxing my adrenals ever since. Is it a wonder that I need a lot of rest? So how do I get my stress down when so much of it is a result of genuinely stressful external life events? (I suppose you could argue it’s my reaction to them that is the problem.) Should I forgive myself and let myself sleep as much as I can?
I mean…that’s all well and good, but you try keeping your self-esteem up when you’re a “type-A” productivity oriented gal who finds herself sleeping until noon some days.
I do the yoga. I do the meditation. I walk a lot in Tokyo. I try to run. I do the acupuncture. I do massage when in Texas (free at my Uni!) I drink herbal tea and avoid caffeine… except in Tokyo where decaf can be a bitch to find.
Last night around 1AM, T was lying next to me in bed, his eyes red-rimmed with sleepiness. He’d been dragged out drinking with co-workers (inset long boring explanation of how someone who owns a clothing shop has co-workers), because it’s Golden Week here in Japan and those who don’t really have a vacation, like T, are pretending they do. Anyway, he was commenting on how much I sleep, and I was getting defensive and cranky as usual. And he added that “futsu” (normal) in Japan is to come home from work at 1AM, cook dinner, take a bath, and then go to bed around 3. Then get up early the next morning and repeat.
In a somewhat bossy voice I told him that in the American way of thinking, people need 7-8 hours of sleep a night to really function, and many people think getting to bed before 11pm is ideal. He “mm-hmm”‘ed me in a skeptical voice while I grumbled to myself that the whole sleep-dep thing is why Japanese people are always sleeping on the train, in meetings, at their desks, etc.
He added that days off are for sleeping. You sleep all day to make up for the rest of your week. Does this sound reasonable and healthy to you? Sleep culture here is just fucked.
I am googling “anxiety disorder sleeping too much” right now.
Oh, and I just got an Aeropress coffee maker (not an affiliate link, alas). It’s kind of awesome.