The first 7-to-midnighter happened in the spring of 2001. I lay down on the couch with a book and 5 hours later woke up to go to bed.
Not all my evening naps are exactly 7-to-midnighters. Sometimes I can make it to 9:30 or 10, even horizontal. I’ve gotten a little bit better at heeding the sleep call if it’s after 9 and I’m not actually asleep.
Why the napping? In 2001, it was because I had a cold and a pregnancy simultaneously. (I discovered the cold first.)
In the last few years, I have begun waking up, unprompted, around 6 every morning. When I say “around,” I mean it may be as early as 4:30, and when I sleep in, I might make it to 7:30. But I almost never need to set an alarm, except on the days I have early-morning workouts, meetings, or Skype sessions. Even then, I often beat the clock.
Going to bed at a sensible hour feels so wrong. I’ve had enough of a struggle with falling asleep — not insomnia but a form of panic attacks — that I’d rather not ever be in bed awake, unless I’m reading a really good book.
Not only that, but there’s no way I can stay asleep for more than 9 hours. That means there will be some kind of disturbance and I’ll be wide awake again, or wake up before 4:30 unable to re-close my eyes.
I like to think of myself as a night person. One of the reasons I do theater is I like being out on the streets after dark. The air is sharper, there’s a bit of an edge of danger, and I’m usually full of energy and ideas.
And I don’t get tired in rehearsals. The air is sharper, there’s a bit of an edge of danger, and there’s almost always somebody talking loudly. I can stay awake and alive and alert for performances. It’s just at home I get sleepy.
Problem: Napping. Solution: Go out at night. Problem: Missing family. Solution: Get one of them to join you. Problem: You can tell a Campbell/Klein, but you can’t tell them what to do.
And nobody can tell me what to do. There has been some grumbling in the past, and there is occasional grumbling now, about having a sleeping person in a public space. I have made it clear, though, that I don’t consider my public sleep to be a priority. The other problem is couch-hogging, but again, I’m perfectly amenable to getting up when asked.
Please wake me up. Just don’t tell me not to fall asleep. It’s the deepest, warmest sleep I get.