I do. When I'm driving my car, I sometimes hold my eyelids open with my fingers. If it's really bad, I pull over, take a nap for 10 to 20 minutes, then get back on the road. And my commute is only 20 to 35 minutes long. I have been falling asleep a lot the past 18-24 months - at the wheel, in my office, while watching TV or movies, while reading, while writing at my laptop... just all the damn time.
Regular Writing Time Is Regular.
It is the backbone of any practice. My routine is different every day, but tends to have larger patterns over weeks or months. Historically, my writing practice has looked like this, after years of development:
- Sunday: Write at Starbucks from about 3pm (sometimes 4 or 5) til 7 or 9pm.
- Monday: Make copies of work for my Monday Night Writers Group feedback read
- Tuesday: May write between my massage therapy sessions, depending on time
- Wednesday: Day off
- Thursday: Often write between sessions or after work for an hour or two.
- Friday: Depending on schedule, may write here and there between sessions at work.
- Saturday: Write for about 2 hours after work.
Additionally, I keep a dream journal that I write in every day that I recall my dreams...
I also keep a log on my phone (I use Evernote) of story ideas, character names, inspiring prompts, etc. to work with in the writing hours.
But this past year (or longer), my energy is been at a serious low. I sit down to write in between sessions at work, and within minutes have closed the laptop and gone into napping. I force myself to get out of bed at the last possible minute before I have to go to work or wherever I need to be; otherwise, I will just stay in bed and sleep...for hours - 10, 12, 15, 20...however long I can get away with.
I have felt guilty about my lack of productivity. My fitness and exercise, housework chores, my business upkeep (newsletters, mailings, contacting colleagues, clients/patients, etc.), my reading, and my writing have all suffered. I just can't seem to make myself stay awake and get stuff done.
I have always tried my best to listen to my body, tend to my self-care, and respond to signals as best I can. For the past two years, I continued to ask myself these questions:
- Is this normal? Obviously not.
- Am I depressed? I have no history of clinical depression. I am a fairly self-motivated, positive thinker, with a ton of ideas and inspiration sources. I know depression is not tied to our will or desire, but other than all the excessive sleeping, I do not feel depressed.
- Is it politically driven? Oh yeah, except for the fact that I am a woman in tRump's America...that is pretty damn depressing. Every day is a battle for equal rights, civil discourse, freedom of the press, freedom of/from religion, freedom of speech minus the spew of hate, body sovereignty, clean air, clean water, protection for endangered animals and nature, and more. The news is depressing, infuriating, and unbelievable. Ignorance and intolerance is rampant, and these fossil fuel pawns and anti-science dweebs ate destroying our very planet. So, I ask myself once again: am I depressed?
- Is my erratic sleep schedule to blame? I basically live like a vampire.
- I have always been a night owl - I come from a long lineage of night owls - but it has gotten way out of hand. Instead of going to bed by 5 am, I have been going to bed/sleep at 7 am, 8 am, 9 am, sometimes on a day off not til 10 am. I sleep as long as I can - maybe 3 hours, maybe 2 or 4 or 5. 6 is the minimum best, but even when I sleep 9 hours, I still wake up tired, so what difference does it make? I know regular (-ish) sleep hours are the best for health, and I experienced the effects of sleep deprivation firsthand when I was in massage school in 1998 and working two jobs and only sleeping 4 to 6 hours per night. Even with naps, I was not getting enough sleep, and my brain was unable to think a way out of that. I also gained fifty pounds that year... definitely a side effect of not enough sleep.
- So, have I allowed myself to create this exhaustion cycle myself? Why can't I just go the eff to bed? Once I'm in bed, I usually fall fast asleep, so it's not insomnia. I am awake, in the living room, either reading, or writing, or watching TV or movies, or chatting with friends in other time zones, or whatever. My brain is very awake and active (even if my body is not) between midnight and 6 am.
- Is this related to my Adderall use? I have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and have been trying to find the sweet spot for dosage for a few years now. It's all trial and error. Since spring of this year, I've mostly been taking 15 mg when I first get up/have breakfast, then another 15mg 4 to 6 hours later.
But Adderall can affect sleep. I don't take it anywhere near my "bedtime" but I wonder if it could be affecting my sleep, anyway?
Two days later, the results are in: I am full-blown anemic! My iron level was 5, which basically means I had five red blood cells (not really, but may as well have been). The healthy range (according to allopathic western medicine; naturopathy and eastern medicine have more detailed ranges and meaning) is 15 - 150. Mine was 5. My other levels were low, too, and my doc told me to take iron supplements twice a day for three months and then get a follow-up blood test. She also told me to take vitamin C to help my body absorb the iron.
I have been taking the iron and C twice every day for just over a month, now. I definitely feel the difference - I noticed I am more chatty, for one thing! I do recall wanting to tell someone some story or other over the past year, and thinking to myself, "meh, it's just not worth the effort." I have had several mornings where I wake up before the alarm clock and don't go back to sleep! I am excited at the prospect of being alert and having more awake time to be productive. Maybe I can get back to more exercise? Perhaps even the morning workouts at home I used to do?
As of the diagnosis of anemia, I had only read 19 books (in 10 months?). I usually read about fifty to sixty a year, so I was behind by half. I can now stay awake and read more than 2 pages, so I'm happy about that, too. Especially since my book-BUYING rate has not slowed down this year... so much to catch up on!