Monday, June 25, 2012

You Fall Asleep... Now!

If you fall asleep now, you will get 6 hours and 20 minutes of sleep.

Preferably, you would like to get eight hours, but you will still function with just under seven hours.

Why is that this always happens when you have something important to do in the morning?  For the entire day, you thought about what time you needed to go to bed.  About how important it was to get a full-night's rest so that you would be ready to go tomorrow.  And in that respect, your entire day was ruined, as you constantly had thoughts of tomorrow's misery in the back of your head.

Yet, as usual, you hopped into bed an hour after you had planned.  And as usual, you couldn't fall asleep once you finally pulled up the sheets.

You tossed and turned.  But if you fall asleep now, you will get 5 hours and 39 minutes of sleep.  That is, if you fall asleep this very second. 

Now.

Sleep.

Go.

Right now.  Fall asleep.  Go!

Ugh.

Down to 5 hours and 38 minutes.

And then you have a great idea for a novel or a screenplay.

It is a truly epic idea, really.  You are not only able to envision the overall concept, but also some of the characters and plot scenarios. 

When you get ideas like this, you usually write them down in the "notepad" section of your phone so that you don't forget them, which is especially easy to do when you are laying in bed.

But you try to convince yourself that your amazing idea is actually terrible.  Instead of letting the idea expand, you attempt to crush and quell it, finding holes in the not-yet-developed plot and persuading yourself that the characters are stupid.

You do this so that you don't have to grab the phone so as to make the previous two hours of trying to fall asleep all for naught.  Because reaching for the phone would require motor movements and that would completely eliminate any progress of sleep that you have achieved up until now.

So you just lay there, completely immobile.

But despite your efforts to squash the idea, you can't help but think about how good it is.

And you know that you won't remember it in the morning.  Remember when you had that great idea for a movie?  When you told yourself the phrase "blue and red handkerchiefs" over and over so that in the morning you would remember the screenplay idea that would change the world forever?

And then a week later, your reminder phrase, "blue and red handkerchiefs" popped back into your head while you were driving, but you couldn't remember the actual idea? 

What if "blue and red handkerchiefs" would have changed the world.  Or even better, netted you a million dollars?

Perhaps your mind will stop racing with ideas once you just write this new idea down.  Once it is on paper it will be out of your mind.

Fine, you think.  Then you grunt and grab your phone in a way that suggests that you were already sleeping and are, in fact, very tired.

Then you type the words into your phone with fabricated tired eyes, hoping that this play-show somehow tricks your subconscious into immediately lulling you "back" into sleep after you write what you need to write.

And as you do this, you become aware of this fact; that you are putting on a show to nobody in particular and how silly it is that you are lying to yourself.  And you realize that that is something worth writing about as well -- how you wasted the last two hours trying to sleep and thinking about writing when you could have actually been writing about trying to sleep.

Giving up completely, you laugh as you grab your laptop.

And that is how you write a blog post about how good ideas only come to you when you are laying in bed. 

You write it in the second-person because you are weird when you are tired.

And now you have 3 hours and 2 minutes to spare for sleep.

-Youngman Brown

54 comments:

  1. I wanted to leave a lullaby here for you - but then I weirder myself out so deleted it. Anyway, it wouldn't have been very melodious.

    Good luck with tomorrow :-D

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  2. LOL! I always end up getting up a half a dozen times to make sure the oven is off, the door is locked, the cat hasn't drowned in the toilet, etc. The next thing I know I've only got 4 hours until I have to get up for work. It's pathological, isn't it.

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  3. Or you lay in your bed pondering the mysteries of the universe. Thinking about moving atoms and spinning galaxies and how we came to be here. And then you think about how many people are on the earth, and how you are still alone. Then you get sad and go to the kitchen for a spoon and a jar of nutella.

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  4. I completely empathize. When I don't have to get up in the morning, I sleep like a baby. Or like the opposite of baby. 8 hours? Please. Try 9 uninterrupted hours of beautiful, beautiful sleep. And when I do need to get up (like today), I can't fall asleep and I can't stay asleep. I've come to the conclusion that not all of us were meant to be on regular schedules.

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    1. I certainly am not on a regular schedule. And it is going to get even worse!

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  5. I count down when I'm trying to fall asleep too, and the later it gets, the more awake I get. Apart from when my alarm clock goes off: then I feel like I could go to sleep straight away.

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  6. Argh! Isn't that frustrating? I've been known to get teary-eyed about it ;) It isn't my norm, though, thank God! My new fun sleep habit is to wake up around 5:30 a.m., no matter what time I went to bed, no matter what time I have to get up, and I can't go back to sleep. It's that blasted sunrise! Also makes me want to cry.

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    1. I usually go to sleep right after the sun has come up, anyway. So I guess I am used to it!

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  7. I find that sometimes when I cant sleep I try to write that great novel in my head. Within minutes I have crashed which only shows that I will never write a book unless it is a cure for insomnia

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  8. I watch the clock counting the sleep time I'm losing. It's been more than I'm getting the past two nights.

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  9. I thought I had left a comment earlier but maybe it didn't go through. Anyway, neat post :)

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    1. You did! Your first comment made me vibrate and I read it through the e-mail, but it never showed up on here!

      You can sing me a lullaby anytime!

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  10. You sound like me or a typical blogger? I count back a lot (100-70 then start all over again because for whatever reason I think I should be asleep by 70 and don't like going lower).

    Your lack of sleep and sleep issue provided us with lovely entertainment on a Monday morning. I hope you drank a lot of coffee to be prepared for your day!

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    1. Yes, it makes sense, because at least in the 70's you are still getting a "C." Anything less than 70 is a "D," and that is a danger zone. Because even though you are failing at falling asleep, you never want to hit 59 and actually get an "F."

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  11. This is my life. Except I would die for a solid six hours of sleep, and I'm lucky if I get four.

    I need to keep a journal by my bed for ideas though. I keep saying this, and I keep not doing it. I always joke that's why my blog sucks so bad. It's because I get all of my ideas when I'm trying to get to sleep and they're gone when I wake up.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean. So many ideas have passed me by due to my late-night laziness.

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  12. Yep. That sounds just like me. But I can also remember things from one room to the next. I never sleep when something important is happening - I've lived through the last 3 days on about 6 hours sleep. I am very tired right now :-(

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    1. Aw, stop reading my silly blog and get some sleep!

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  13. I think you just told my life story in post form. And this is the reason why I tell myself I'm going to sleep a full 8 hours and am lucky if I get 5-6 a night.

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    1. I think that you'd do a much better job telling your life story!

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  14. Always always jot the idea down; you can sleep when you're dead... tired. Although, if you become dead tired whilst driving, hold off the sleep for a while. You know, until you're at least at a stoplight.

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    1. I did that once. Just had a root canal but was feeling well and alert when I left the dentist office. The first stop light I came to, I fell asleep and didn't wake up till a car honked behind me. Every nerve in my body screamed.

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    2. I can't wait until cars can drive for us.

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  15. I can relate 100% to this post. I do the exact same thing, I need to go to sleep early tonight plays in mind all da long reminding me of the shitty day I have ahead of me and then my brain won't shut off....

    whowouldathought-Kevin.blogspot.com

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  16. LOL So how many hours of sleep did you actually get and were you ok for your important day?

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    1. Not many, and they weren't very restful.

      And yes, I survived :)

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  17. Some writers struggle with writing in the 2nd person. You, however, are quite successful with it. The idea is to have it be so NOT noticeable, so that you feel compelled to point it out to your readers at the end ("Hey, BTW, that was 2nd person back there! not everyone can pull that off, did you see it?").

    You continue to impress me, even if you are sleep-deprived.

    xxo
    MOV

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    1. Youngman Brown thanks you, MOV.

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    2. oooh, THIRD person! We like that! :)

      xxo
      MOV

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  18. Hahaha, awesome post. I can completely relate. The problem with me, though, is that I get these great ideas while laying down and tell myself that I'll just write them down in the morning instead of getting up. But, by the time the rooster crows, the idea is completely gone.

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  19. I can relate completely. I was awake Friday night from 2:30AM until 5:30 or so. Insomnia sucking the life from me. Happens infrequently, so normally it isn't a bother and being Friday, I could sleep some more on Saturday. Normally, great ideas come to me and I start drafts like crazy. How many ideas came to me between 2:30 and 5:25? ZERO! How many came after I decided I could fall asleep? like 3 and I was too tired to grab the phone or the pad or the laptop.

    How did we survive in the college years? I remember hitting a party after college, knowing I had to work the next day. I remember talking to 2 other dudes while my ride was having a ride... and I still functioned the next day. I think the trick is to KNOW and not to DREAD. Basically, if you set your mind that your options are to either try to sleep for X time or not go to sleep at all, your body adjusts a little and says "well, X is better than none" and it sorts itself out. When we look at the clock and say "Oh, no! I'm ONLY going to get X..." our body prepares itself to be sucky.

    Oh, and voice notes are great and most phones have them. iPhone 4S has dictation which totally rocks. both are great if you sleep alone (should be some consolation for it :) ) or if your "roommate" is a heavy sleeper.

    WG

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    1. I honestly have no idea how I did it in college, either. Perhaps four years of 4-5 hours/night of sleep is the reason I have permanent bags under my eyes.

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  20. I haven't had a full night's sleep, since my daughter Faith was born. That was almost eleven years ago, and it's evaded me ever since! You are not alone.

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    1. I love Sleep, and perhaps my love for Sleep will outweigh my desire to have children.

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  21. Haha! I, too, count down the hours of sleep I have left. Or I catch pop flies in my mind, because eighth grade softball was a traumatic experience...?

    And I bet we could get a few of your readers to pitch in and buy you some blue and red hankerchiefs, just in case.

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    1. Catching pop flies? That is adorable!

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    2. Oh good. That's what I was going for haha

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  22. It's on the night that I HAVE to get a good night sleep that I have the most trouble falling asleep. I think we get ourselves psyched out.

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    1. Yes, it certainly a mental thing. I just wish that I had the mental wherewithal to demolish it.

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  23. I'm lucky that I can sleep anywhere and only need around 4 hours most nights...

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  24. This is great insight into how works the minds of genius writers. And/or insomniacs.

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    1. That is very kind, but you should definitely hedge your bets to the latter.

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  25. Being an insomniac, as well, I can relate to your post completely. You have really done a beautiful job of explaining this annoying problem. I finally turned to my good friend, Ambien to help me.

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  26. My good ideas always hit me while I shower. I need to invest in water proof paper and pens and then just stand in the shower all freaking day. I would be the worlds cleanest writer ever!

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  27. I just recently started sleeping "normally." My best blog posts were nights that I couldn't sleep. This one was great:)

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  28. It really is annoying. I can function on a minimum of 4-5 hours if I have to be at work the next day. I had this problem last night though. Intended to be in bed by 11. Finally turned out the light at 1:30am.

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  29. Ahh Youngman Brown! You never disappoint! You so eloquently described exactly how it feels to suffer a bout of insomnia. I once heard a doctor say no one ever died from lack of sleep. I comfort myself by rememberig that as I lay there at 2:00 am. And 3:00 am. And 4:00 am. :)

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  30. I hear ya - loud and clear. My hubby and I are notorious for saying, "tonight, we're going to bed early," after only getting 5-6 hours of sleep. But, that night comes and we can't stop doing whatever we're doing (reading, playing some stupid game on our phones, watching TV, etc, etc). Sigh. Unfortunately, when I'm laying in bed, I'm usually too lazy to get back up to get my laptop to do a brilliant blog post that just came to me.

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