Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sleepnessness and the Muse

So here it is - Saturday night at nearly 3am and I'm wide awake. Not really unusual, just really annoying. The sleepnessness, similar to insomnia, has worked its way in.

At 8 or 9 this evening, I was ready to keel over from exhaustion. I got very little sleep last night, and it looks like there's another night of that coming tonight. Why? Because about 10pm I started getting my second wind. My brain turned on, and when that happens, I'm toast. It's like I don't need soleep.

I had started doing some research online, and M sent me a text message commenting that she wished I did as much homework on everything as I did on this particular topic. It struck a chord. The topic was interesting, but I did have more energy. Got me to thinking - most of my writing and creative work is done in the wee hours. I just seem to hit my muse about midnight. And once I get going, I just seem to keep going.

Why is it my creative juices don't start flowing until after midnight? There's probably some new-agey stuff out there about it being related to the time I was born or the cycles of the moon, but I don't buy it. There's gotta be something else.

I've always been this way. When I did a lot of theater, I could pull all-nighters hanging lights or painting sets without hesitation. In my theme park employment days, Happy Hour started at midnight. I can remember being up to watch the Tonight show when I was 10 or 11 on a regular basis.

But now, I have a "real" job, with 8a-4p hours, weekends off. For most folks, that's heaven. For me, the hours are killing me. By mid-afternoon, I want a nap in a bad way. Even now, at just after 3am, I've got three or four blog posts running around in my head, I've been installing software on my laptop and mobile phone, and I feel like I want to snack in a big bad way. Meanwhile, I'm supposed to get up at about 6-6:30 so C and I can go hiking. Yeesh.

A lot of research has been done on circadian rhythms. Of course, when you see these symptoms, it gets a little worrisome:

- Difficulty initiating sleep
- Difficulty maintaining sleep
- Nonrestorative sleep
- Daytime sleepiness
- Poor concentration
- Impaired performance, including a decrease in cognitive skills
- Poor psychomotor coordination
- Headaches
- Gastrointestinal distress

Of these, I can tick off at least 6, maybe 7 as symptoms for me. Great.

And if course, as I write this, I'm starting to quickly fade. My eyes are tired, which helps. But by this point, I only have about three hours to sleep.

I know I'm not the only person who has these issues. My writing/blogging is an important creative outlet for me, and keeps the creative side of me happy. So how do I balance my late night muse with my early morning responsibilities?

Do you run into this problem? Is it just insomnia 0 or something more? How do you cope with it? Do you have a favorite way to get your body and mind to synchronize? What do you do? Enter it in the comments below.

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