How much sleep do we need? Eight hours? Seven? A search on Google brings up a few theories (9.1 million). One headline says, "Over eight hours sleep too much of a good thing", while New Scientist says, "Seven hours' sleep the safest".
Safety apart, over time, eight hours, no more, no less, has become a habit. I rise, rather than stumble, out of bed. The morning acquires the crispness of a new book. Answers to everyday questions flow without thought, and I somehow know I've made the right decision. Weather does not change anything. Traffic becomes an opportunity to listen to my favourite song again. Throughout the day, the clock tells me I have more time whenever I look at it. Time is never slow, it glides by at an easy pace as I work, walk, exchange information. Daydreams are more vivid, excitedly descriptive about the path ahead, and the lasting impact their subject will have on humanity.
This elevated state of well-being is conducted to my family, for they respond with energy. It is conducted to lifeless objects, such as the phone, which rings bringing familiar voices from other continents. I smile at the man knocking on my window to sell me books, and lower the partition to tell him I have nearly every book he's carrying. He hopefully asks if I have 'The Alchemist' or some such. Not even that fazes me. We chat until the signal turns green.
There are always things to do, and places to visit. Days seem to last longer, which is strange, for a lack of sleep has the opposite effect. Time becomes inconsistent, like a clock with wonky batteries. I am forever subconsciously uncovering memories that I attempt to bury a little deeper everyday. The dark shrouds require lifting for thoughts to be freed, and even then they seem affected.
On waking up, the ground feels much too cold, and I scan the room for roaches and other creepy crawlies alert to my presence. I am half-disappointed they remain hidden. The clarity of other days is replaced by a low dark haze. Days that begin this way are spent plotting an escape from routine, from inevitability, from an unkempt state of mind.
Conversation, never easy, is schizophrenic under the weight of sleeplessness. The unintentional dismantling of the protective barrier - which also proves so restrictive in a state of consciousness - prompts a continuous ramble that is either insightful or nonsensical. When you reach deep within, do you find clarity? Or does it leave you bewildered?
A haze surrounds me, and this takes a few days to dissipate. Until then I traverse the gray stretch, making a mental note to hit the sack early. Speaking of which, it is 12:30am, and I have to be awake in much less than eight hours.