Tag Archives: sleep

Nap time

If I have enough time, I like to take a nap during the middle of the day. I almost never get the chance to do it, because society doesn’t work that way. It should. I hate the whole “working hard or hardly working” mentality. Can’t I be doing both? Why are we expected to bust our asses for so many hours every week? As more and more jobs get automated, wouldn’t it make sense to redefine full-time work?

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But whatever, I’m talking about naps. They’re awesome. Nothing’s better than crashing on the couch at around three or four in the afternoon and waking up whenever. I listen to people talking about napping, I always get a little suspicious whenever someone tries to tell me about the effectiveness of a power nap. I’m sorry, but if you send me to sleep for only ten to fifteen minutes, we’re both going to have a pretty serious problem on our hands ten to fifteen minutes from now.

No, when I go in for a nap, I never set an alarm. It’s one of the only times in an adult life where you get to wake up as if you didn’t really have to. I wake up in the morning, it’s because I have to. You can’t just lie in bed all day, unless you’re sick, and that doesn’t count. But a good hour-long, two, two-and-a-half hour nap, that’s the best.

I like to, after I wake up, just kind of stay there on the couch for a while longer. Like I’ll be awake, but I won’t open my eyes for another five or ten minutes. And then once I face the waking world, I’ll just stretch out, check my phone. And then I’m up.

After a really good nap, I feel like my day has been completely rebooted. It’s like I’m somehow siphoning off some extra morning energy from an unknown afternoon source. It’s great. Everything I do after a nap is more productive, I’m happier, people are happier with me. Why can’t we make room for naps in modern society?

Does anybody else think that getting up, working, and then going to bed is kind of a dumb idea? Can’t we make some room for naps? I’d love to take a nap right now. But it’s already ten at night, and so I feel like if I take a nap now, that’ll be it, I might as well just go to bed. No, tomorrow. Tomorrow I’m definitely taking a nap. You hear that boss? I don’t care if you’re not supposed to sleep in the coat closet. I’m taking a nap.

Time-control powers

I always thought that it would be cool to have a superpower where you could freeze time around you for however long you wanted. The best part about having this power would mean that I’d never be tired every again. Not really, not to the point where I wouldn’t be able to immediately take a nap. As it is right now, it’s always a struggle to get to sleep at a reasonable hour, and then it’s equally difficult getting up in the morning like I imagine adults are supposed to do.


But with my time-stopping powers I’d just be like – snap! – time is frozen, let me enjoy another two hours of rest. And I’d get up and go about my day as if I’m running on a full tank of gas. Because I don’t know what it’s like for everybody else, but I totally need eight hours of sleep. Anything less and I feel like something died deep down inside of me, that I’m carrying a heavy weight, pulling me to the ground, “Go to sleep,” it’s constantly whispering in my ears, “Right here is fine, just close your eyes and relax.”

And the world just isn’t set up for impromptu napping. Like, every once in a while I’ll be at work in the restaurant, I’ll see the linen truck pull up, they’re dropping off giant sacks of freshly cleaned white napkins, and all I want to do is clear a space and lie down on top of those bags, a giant soft pillow that I could use to take a load off, just for fifteen minutes, I could get away with disappearing for twenty minutes.

But like I said, that’s not how it works. Your boss catches you asleep in the backroom, you just know he’s going to say something like, “Hey Rob, if you don’t have epilepsy, you’re fired.” That’s why I need those time control powers. I could do it whenever I wanted. I could sleep in the back for an hour, two hours, however long it might take for my batteries to recharge all the way.

And these powers would come in handy for so many other aspects of my life, stuff that doesn’t involve sleeping or napping. Like, every time I go to the movies, I always wind up drinking my Cherry Coke way too fast. Then I have spend the second half of the film squirming in my seat, waiting for the credits to roll so I can relieve my swollen bladder. If I could just freeze that moment, I wouldn’t have to be so uncomfortable.

Or if I’m on a game show someday, like Jeopardy for example, I’d wager everything on the Daily Double, every time. Why? Because if I don’t know an answer, I could just – pop! – make everything around me stop while I take a walk to the nearest library and check out all of the answers. (Unfortunately, I’m assuming my cell phone and the entire Internet would be frozen along with everything else, so I’d have to resort to an old-fashioned printed and bound version of Wikipedia.)

Don’t you hate it when you’re not paying attention and you miss your subway stop? You have to get off the train and walk all the way over to the other side of the tracks and wait for the next train heading in the opposite direction. It takes forever. But if I could stop time, I’d just pry open the door and walk along the tracks back to the station that I just missed. There’d be no danger of any oncoming trains, or any rats or anything like that, because they’d all be frozen.

The only thing is, all of those stolen moments have got to add up, right? An hour here, ten minutes there, all of the sudden people are going to start asking me, “Rob, how is it that, despite the fact that you always look so unbelievably well rested, you seem to get older and older every time that I see you?” I’d get so dependent on stopping time for even the most mundane of tasks that eventually I’ll have lived an entire parallel lifetime in between the minutes while everyone around me is stopped in their tracks.

So I guess, unless I could add a stipulation to my powers, that I don’t age while time is stopped, I’d have to reluctantly turn down the ability to freeze time. And it sucks because, the more I think about it, there’s no way around it. If you’re moving around and using energy and everything, your body has got to be doing its thing, converting food to fuel, shedding old cells, everything that characterizes the whole aging process. It feels like it would be a cop-out to add the no-aging clause, almost like that would be its own superpower. It’s like when people ask you to pick one superpower, you can’t say flight and invisibility. It’s one or the other.

But other than the whole shaving-years-off-of-your-life-by-taking-naps-at-work thing, it would be really cool. Because I’m thinking about it, and I don’t know, is it better to have a long life where you’re really tired, or a shorter life where you’re constantly feeling refreshed?

I’m coming back

A few days ago I woke up in the middle of the night totally unable to move. I’ve read about sleep paralysis before, when you wake up unable to move for a while, but I’ve never experienced anything like it. I thought about what was going on, that if this was like anything that I’ve read online, I just had to wait it out, to allow whatever chemicals my brain uses to prevent me from flailing around in the middle of the night to wear off and let me regain control of my muscles.


But then I saw it out of the corner of my vision, a shape moving on the floor, coming from the bedroom door, making its way closer to the bed. I was sleeping on my side, my arms wrapped around a pillow, my knees bent sort of into half a ball, and so I had a pretty good view of the whole room. My heart started racing, but I tried not to panic, this definitely had to be some sort of dream, I knew that I was going to snap out of it eventually, that my bedroom would be back to normal as soon as I could get up and walk around.

But the vague, formless mass was getting closer, and even though I tried to keep my eyes closed, there was a part of me that was genuinely terrified, that refused to look away despite my overwhelming urge to just close my eyes and retreat into myself. Why couldn’t I have fallen asleep on my back tonight? Sure, that would have probably been equally scary, I’ve read accounts of sleep paralysis where shadowy figures leer down at the bed from above, inching closer or even putting pressure on the chest making it feel like you can’t breathe.

But this was bad, being on my side, having this sideways field of vision. I could see everything, every shadow, the floor, the wall, the ceiling. The door. This thing had moved past the doorway and as it slithered closer, it looked like slightly more than just a dark blob. Vague features were starting to come into relief, for example, I could make out a body, it was lying on the ground, and even though I said that it was slithering, like totally on the floor, it wasn’t as smooth of a movement as it had been just a few seconds earlier. Its body didn’t seem to be propelling itself, yet it was definitely getting closer, jerking forward an inch at a time, sometimes a little faster, but not really, the whole process maddeningly slow.

A face kind of revealed itself in the darkness, but mostly featureless, smooth white skin, dark black shadows where the eyes and mouth should have been. And then it started making these sounds. It was almost like static electricity, but more organic, if that makes any sense. Guttural? Is that a better qualifier? I’m not really sure how to write out what it was that was coming from that direction, but it wasn’t really consistent, there were definitely changes in pitch and tone, almost like a weird whisper.

I was beyond scared at this point, and even though I couldn’t make out the specifics of what I was looking at, there was this one moment where I was absolutely positive that whatever I had identified as this thing’s face turned to look me in the eye. My heart rate picked up, I had never felt so helpless as I struggled to move, to pry myself free from whatever it was that kept me locked in this half-fetal position.

Could I blink? I could. I shut my eyes. I repeated to myself that while the fear was real, this all had to be an illusion, like when you wake up in the middle of the night and you’re positive you see someone standing in the room with you, it feels so real that for half a minute or so you’re actually believing it, frozen, until something clicks in your brain and you see that it’s nothing, it’s your dresser, it’s just a bunch of shapes that took a second to register in your mind as being what they were, nobody really there, nothing sinister.

But as soon as I shut my eyes, the whispering got less static-like, it was louder, it sounded like it was getting closer, faster. Whatever control I had over my mind ordered my eyes to stay shut, but some sort of perverse curiosity pried them open, the figure was still on the floor, but now it was right underneath my bed, its face maybe a foot away from my face. It was a woman, the details of here face remained still mostly featureless, but I could definitely make out that taught, white skin, the same gaping holes where the eyes and mouth were supposed to be. It was like something out of a horror movie, even worse really, like how could my mind concoct an image so otherworldly?

She laid there for half a minute or so before I started to make out distinct words emerging from the white noise. The first full sentence came through clear, and it’s stuck in my memory. She said, “Don’t you remember me? I’m coming back. I’m coming back.” And the perfect circle that was her formless black mouth started to turn upward at the sides, like a smile.

The smile slowly spread across her entire face, and her body started to inch underneath my bed. Her words finally began to subside somewhat, first back to the static, then I couldn’t hear anything at all. By the time I started to regain control of my body, first my fingers, then my arms and legs, and finally my torso, she had completely disappeared underneath. When I managed to lift myself up, to turn the light on and check if there was anything there at all, well … there wasn’t anything.

Aside from my still racing heart, and the echo of her words in my memory, my bedroom appeared exactly like it always did. My wife started to stir, I knew that I’d have to turn the lights back off or I’d wake her up completely. I held her close the rest of the night, and then night after that, unable to really fall asleep, hoping that whatever I’d experienced was just the byproduct of an overactive imagination under just the right physiological circumstances. But I can’t really get comfortable anymore, right as I’m just about to pass out from what’s become a total lack of any real sleep, I hear those words in my head as if they’re being spoken out loud, “I’m coming back. I’m coming back.”