I’ll admit, I’m much more fond of it than I used to be. Going to bed was the worst kind of chore when I was a kid, somehow worse than doing dishes or even weeding the garden. I had to lie there, close my eyes and do absolutely nothing, because if I talked or read or sang that meant I wasn’t sleeping. I thought that sleeping was the most boring thing in the entire world, and I resented giving up every second my precious evening I had to give up in order to sleep.
Now, though, there are some nights when I’m utterly, gloriously relieved to collapse into bed. When I don’t have the physical or mental energy left to do more than stare at walls (or late night television, which is only slightly more interesting than the blank wall at times), sleep can feel like a glorious reward for a job well done.
Still, that’s only on some nights. If I have any kind of energy left, I’d much rather be reading a book, catching up on the DVRd episodes of my favorite show, or talking to a friend. Sometimes, I’d even rather be cleaning, because there are some nights when 1 a.m. feels like the perfect time to scrub the sinks or sweep the kitchen floor. You might question the sanity of the thought the next morning, but it’s hard to argue with the fact that your house is now slightly cleaner
Like many night owls, I’ve even made my peace with having to be functional the next morning. We have all kinds of tricks to make it through the first half of the day, most of which involve snooze alarms, large amounts of caffeine, and trying to arrange your schedule so you don’t have to do any complicated thinking until after noon.
You also get good at narrowing your sleep schedule as far as you can get away with, sneaking out a few extra minutes of consciousness anywhere you can. I’ve gotten really good at knowing exactly how much sleep I need to be a reasonable facsimile of a human being, and mostly try to stay in that general area. As long as I sound relatively coherent, no one seems to notice.
The thing is, though, that I notice. Living like this means that, while I get to keep my nights, I’m sleepwalking my way through at least half my morning. There’s a lot of stuff you miss when you’re only at 50 percent capacity, or even 75 percent, and most of that are those nice-but-unnecessary things that help make life worth living. I’m convinced that nights are better than mornings, but what if that’s because nights are the only part of my life I’m fully awake for?
So maybe I’ll start considering sleep a priority instead of an annoying chore I’m forced to do. I don’t want to give up my nights completely, but if I hand over a little bit of them – by going to bed at midnight instead of 1:30 a.m., maybe – then maybe I’ll have a little more brainpower to experience my morning with. Only then will I really be able to judge whether sunlight is worth all the fuss everyone else seems to make over it.