Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thoughts on sleep, while half-asleep.

There is a stillness to this morning routine that I am really coming to appreciate. First of all: how magnificent to have a cushion of at least an hour before I need to go to work! It's a miracle that, as an unfortunate and habitual late sleeper, I have not really known until now. I do not have children, and I am out of school, so those days of getting up at 6:45 or 7:00 TO START THE DAY - not even to just sip a cup of tea in a bathrobe - seem so faded with frayed edges now, and I'm almost disbelieving that I did it for twelve whole years - and that my parents did it with me. (Thanks, parents!)

Sleep is always important... (kudos to Jessie for the photo)
How interesting and weird and cool and annoying that sleep patterns form - or when you feel they don't. I must admit, I'm not read up on the science of REM cycles and other elements that are so intricate to it, I just feel what I feel and go with that. Since the new year started and I started this routine, I've been waking up about thirty minutes before my alarm is set to go off at 7:15. Today, for whatever reason, I squirmed awake at 3:44. I glanced at my clock and snuggled deep under the covers with delight, with that joyful feeling of time, and space, and warmth, and most importantly - the sense of being aware of the moment, recognizing it all, instead of taking zonked out whiffling breaths and grinding my teeth on my retainer. Growing up, Dad used to come to my room about an hour before I had to get up, wake me up, and tell me I had an hour or more to sleep.

So I've always had this desire to savor the cushion of time. Why do I feel so disappointed when I wake up on my own, look at my watch, and see that it's 7:13? Even in the midst of being impressed with my body clock for being right on the money, I am irked with my sleeping-soundly self for only getting two minutes to enjoy it. (And again, growing up, poor Dad would get my grumpy self when he came in to wake me up for real and I had, in my sleepy bliss, totally forgotten that he had woken me up early.)

Before I began this morning routine - getting up at 7:15, no matter what - if I woke up two minutes before my alarm, I would just press SNOOZE. And SNOOZE and SNOOZE again. And then I would feel rushed for the rest of the morning, unable to take time to sit and savor. Because I'm coming to realize that savoring the waking moments is just as good (almost) as sliding back into sleep in the wee small hours. By giving myself more time to wake up, I feel like I give myself more to appreciate about the day. And that's a life-giving thing, no matter how tired I am at the start.

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