It’s no secret to people that know me that sleep and I are tentative acquaintances at the very best. Sleep and I don’t quite get along, she lets me hang out, but really just enough to get by. I’m tired of it, so I made an appointment to get myself into a sleep clinic.
For full disclosure, I’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression, slight anti-social disorder, and have had a history of alcohol abuse. All of these conditions are well managed and by all accounts I have an excellent life. I do work too much, but day-to-day stresses are not that big in my list of things to worry about. In fact, I don’t spend much time worrying about anything these days.
I do drink coffee and tea, but low to no caffeine. I probably drink 1 to 3 fully caffeinated drinks a day, if that. I don’t eat a lot of sugar, I don’t eat right before bed, I work out on a regular basis. I’m a healthy person by almost all standards.
I suppose that’s why my inability to sleep more than 2 hours at a time is starting to grate on me. I’m busy. If I honestly don’t need 8 hours of sleep and instead can do something else and spend more time awake and doing things, I’m going to do it. Here’s what my NORMAL sleep pattern looks like:
11:30pm Went to bed
1:00am Woke up – Showered, watch a video, had a pint of water, refilled water glass
2:40am Went to bed
2:53am Got up – Drank 1/3 pint of water
2:56am Went to bed
3:56am Woke up – Drank 1/3 pint of water
3:57am Went to bed
5:10am Woke up – Finished water, refilled water glass
5:20am Went to bed
7:00am Alarm woke up – reset alarm
7:10am Alarm woke up – reset alarm
7:20am Alarm Got up for the day – Had more water [Late to work]
When I discussed this with my sleep doctor, he was fairly quick to assess that I may have what’s known as Shorted Sleep Cycle. ″What’s that?″ I asked. ″It basically means that you only need 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night″ he replies.
″That’s a THING?″
I think that perhaps my enthusiasm shocked him. He nodded, however, and said ″it’s exceptionally rare, but yes, it’s a thing″.
Short Sleepers are people (about 1% of the general population) that function best on half of a regular sleep cycle. If I truly am a member of this mutant club, it means that I only need 4-5 hours of sleep a night. Getting more than that won’t hurt me, but I don’t need it. My body isn’t really having trouble falling asleep, it’s just not wanting to sleep that long.
This excites me! As I am typing this, I’m quite content at 1:30am. I feel like this may be a THING I can do! I got extra things done for my second job! I’m productive!! So, we’ll see if I actually sleep a full 4 hours straight, or if this is going to be a bust. Regardless, I’ll take you all along for the ride. See you guys tomorrow, where I will update what Short Sleeping really is, tell you about how I handled my first day on the 4 hour schedule, and talk a bit about my lack of jet-lag.