I have had an eating disorder for about 25 years of my life. I used to be a compulsive overeater. While I’m still compulsive now and then, and I’m still overeating from time to time, those days are gone. Poof. Well, not exactly poof, it took some years and some work, and then some more work, and then I had to bring out my inner parent and now I’m all better. (And if you’re interested in any of that you can look at changing habits.)
But I’ve found something new! Sleep deprivation. Makes you feel even worse than having eaten 1 1/2 bags of potato chips, a bag of gummy bears and lots of chocolate in one sitting. Just train yourself to go to bed at 11.30 when you have to get up at 6.45, when you need about 8 1/2 hours of sleep and voilà, there’s your new obsession.
First you don’t get out of bed on time because you haven’t slept enough yet. Then you stumble through your day, bleary-eyed and barely conscious. You promise yourself a midday nap only to find something really important to do, like for example reading blogs, and that’s it for the nap. You promise yourself to be good from now on, to go to bed on time. “Ah, tonight”, you think, “tonight I’ll snuggle in my cosy bed just when I’m getting tired and then close my eyes. Bliss!”. For the whole day you think of bed. In a wholly platonic way. Sleep. Sleep! SLEEP! Interestingly when evening comes around, you get awake again. There’s just this one thing more to do before going to bed. After all it isn’t that late. And it’s not good to go to bed too early of course. So you still have, let’s say, 30 minutes. So you can start to watch an episode of “Angel”. And of course you will be really good today and stop watching it right in the middle. Don’t you? Only this time it’s that interesting, never mind that you already know it. And if you stay up just a little longer you’ll be past some critical point in your knitting. Or you talk to your husband and just forget the time… Never mind the reason, the result is always the same: You go to bed at 11.30. Rinse and repeat.
After a while you are too tired to exercise. You are too tired to play with your son. You are impatient and cranky. You are too tired to make music. In fact, you are too tired for doing anything much, and everything you do takes twice the time it should take because you’re so slow. You get so tired that you shouldn’t be allowed to drive a car anymore.
So why do you continue going to bed too late? Even though you know that you never can sleep in? And you know that sleeping in isn’t good for you either. better to have a consistent routine, like, going to bed at 10.30 and getting up at 6.45. (We’re not talking about you pre-motherly goal of having nine hours of deep, relaxing, and uninterrupted sleep every night here. Just eight hours for a start.)
In a way, it’s perfect. You get to complain, which is always good, so that people don’t get jealous at you. You life has focus and you never have to shift it because nothing changes. When you’re tired it only shows how hard you work and what amazing things you do. Of course you can’t be expected to do anything for anybody before being rested. You don’t have to be creative because you’re much too tired for that. Better to dream about your projects than have them fall short in any way. You get to eat more because you’re always hungry. And since you’re so low on energy you just deserve a little chocolate to make you feel better. And then, of course, a beer in the evening to help you sleep better. Never mind that alcohol doesn’t help with sleep. At least it feels relaxing.
This of course is wholly fictional and doesn’t bear any resemblance to real, ahem, almost forty-ish singers any of us knows.