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the benefits of a deep sleep

I answer almost every on-line survey I get. before i discovered lj, i saw those surveys as a twisted form of journal. i would go back and look at how i answered a question, how the answer to a question changed over time, and it would tell me a lot about the evolution of my state of being.

One of the questions that i see every now and again is "What's the first thing you think about when you wake up?" and my answer is always "hitting the snooze button" which i suppose is technically true. but if i was feeling adventurous or didn't have eighty more questions to answer, i'd elaborate on that and say that it's not entirely accurate - the first thing I do is hit the snooze button, but it's not something I think about. It's a learned automatic reflex, like picking my foot up when i drop a knife or a juggling torch, or pulling up my car door handle after i close it to make sure it's locked.

But the waking up thing is more complicated than that. When I first wake up, my sub-conscious mind is almost always awake before my conscious mind is. I've woken up to the sound of my phone ringing, had conversations with my friends, hung up and fallen back asleep, and have had no memory of it whatsoever. I've been late or almost late to commitments because my alarm goes off and my sub-conscious mind turns it off before my conscious mind has a chance to awaken and i'll wake up minutes or hours later wondering why my alarm didn't go off. I've slept through fire alarms, loud parties... i bet i could sleep through a minor earthquake if i was in the right location.

Sometimes when i do wake up, it's an incredibly disorienting experience, lending once again to an analogy of memory and recollection like that of Leonard Shelby. There are those brief seconds where I don't know where i am, what i'm doing, who to trust.

Since i tend to have a tight rein of control on how I present myself (both to myself and to others), that disorientation can scare the frell out of me, but occasionally i think that it's a relief and a comfort. My conscious mind can get in the way of my true thoughts by automatically blocking, translating, and reevaluating them so much that they can become garbled and confused. Having those thoughts pass from my sub-conscious unfiltered can reveal truths to me that I need to hear even if I don't want to.

The other benefit of that state of mind is how it changes "living" from a state of conscious thought to a state of function, which is good when I'm particularly depressed. To paraphrase a pre-darknote entry:

Some people treat eating as a pure biological function. They don't eat at expensive restaurants, they get the store-brand product because it's fifteen cents cheaper, they regularly eat at the same fast food restaurant. I suppose that at some point it has to be a routine for practical reasons, but people that take pleasure out of eating view great food as an experience to savor from beginning to end...

...one of the side effects to being a deep sleeper is how slowly i wake up. It takes me about a half hour (give or take) after the alarm goes off or something wakes me up for my brain to put itself in a normal state of alertness. During that half hour, my state of consciousness still feels like it's shut off - my body is awake, the automatic response portion of my brain still works, but my brain just isn't on...

It's that state of mind that I'm beginning to believe is the benefit of sleep.

It's a way of treating *living* as a function in the same way that I treat sleeping or other people treat eating. Going through the motions because you need it to... uh... live, but not taking any pleasure in it.

Granted, that numbing kind of depression can achieve a similar effect, but it's different just because of what it is. You're not taking pleasure out of life, but you're still *feeling* something, even if it's empty. Because you understand what it is to not be numb, you still have a sense of numbness.

But in that not-yet-awake state, it's like my understanding of moods or emotions gets negated. I don't get pleasure, but neither do i feel numb. It's not that I don't feel as much as i don't understand how to feel. I can't even say that it's a great feeling because I don't know what that means in that context.

Anyway, i was almost late to work today because I kept on hitting snooze on my alarm. I think that that was the point.

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