The thesis murders sleep

September 30, 2006

When external forces push me just a bit, I don’t respond (heaven forfend) by pushing back at those externalities, but rather by pushing at more internal modalities. While the first of these is necessarily my constitutional sloth – a certain tendency more akin to gormandizing than all-out torpor –, the first of my more excusable tendencies to be pushed at is sleep.

Long-time friends can testify to the often choppy relations that hold forth between my august person and the Land of Nod, but too often they only know the half that I’m not hesitant to reveal (at risk of seeming entirely estranged from my somatic self). I have tried, amongst others: a sleep schedule that entails four 30-minute naps a day in addition to a 4-hour core sleep; a 28-hour day, wherein an 8-hour block of sleep is deferred for 4 hours each day (meaning that a week is 6 “days” long); a schedule wherein I simply “sleep when tired” (a much more problematic judgment than it seems).

My freedom to do this is much appreciated and due to my extremely flexible commitments. But it’s motivated by a question that I’ve pursued for years now: how much is in a single day?

It’s a question for which a merely quantitative answer makes me want to mow the lawn or build something, just to have a physical manifestation of time spent. Charting progress on mental matters – especially when you’re rather the gormandizing sort – is tremendously daunting, even if that same activity does encourage you to squeeze the most out of each day.

Bound in by the fact that I can only read and process x number of pages a day, I push in the easiest way I know how: not against my often elaborate meals or against the chores that keep my apartment decent, but against that most utterly useless thing of all – sleep.


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