The Two-Sleep Experiment

An update because a few people are wondering.

No. The words are not pouring out of me at the witching hour.

That is the simple conclusion I am making now at 00:22 on Wednesday morning. E. has staggered up to sit in the chair here in the library and work on equations, and the old lady has moved from her bed in the hall to the rug near my desk, and dropped her body with a loud complaint. She’s whistling now as she breathes, but is likely too deaf to be aware of it herself.

This is only the 10th night of biphasic sleeping. The first week I woke easily at midnight. Sometimes right before the wake-up music started playing on my phone. I could think of it that way then. Tonight it very much felt like an alarm.

The idea of having to wake to an alarm, abruptly and from a deep sleep twice a night is discouraging. Though I am not sure I would be having this idea if it were for my visit to the acupuncturist yesterday afternoon. For someone whose a woman whose business is definitely “woo-woo” in most people’s minds, she is terribly conservative. I once explained that, lying there with the needles, I had felt like a champagne cork had popped from the top of my head. She laughed. I was half-hoping for some explanation of my chi having undergone some kind of fundamental and transformative catharsis of its own.

Yesterday, when she asked if my sleeping has improved, I (reluctantly and) very quickly tried to explain biphasic sleeping. But my acupuncturist is a Gyn from China and is completely unimpressed by my busyness and the fact that I teach & write & translate & train for marathons, & … She keeps chiding me for creating my own stress. Yesterday: “You shouldn’t go to bed knowing you have to wake up half-way through the night.”

Yeah, yeah, just finish putting puncturing the inside of my knee, and turn down the lights please.

I am not sure what I think of acupuncture. I have been going twice a month for a while now. At first it was amazing. My pulse would drop to 47 on the table and I felt refreshed. I figured if it is all just a placebo, then it is still worth the money to have a good 25-minute meditation in the middle of the day. The last two months, I haven’t felt that pop or sensed that wink of possible transformation.

IMG_20150928_095444For an experiment, there are far too many variables to draw conclusions: whether I’m thinking about acupuncture or the two-sleep project. I have been edgy the past three or four days. I have also had moments where I feared I might topple into a slightly manic place, after all these years of relative stability.

I feel creative most of the day, observant and calm. I have what seem like constructive and realistic ideas for new approaches to writing projects that have been languishing in the drawer.

But the at same time, I am suffering from a crisis in self-confidence; concerned that I am only adding to the noise in the world. There has to be a way to re-frame that thought. The music in the world? But I am feeling all too dissonant for anyone’s good.

For now, I will keep it up – this two-sleeping project. I’ll be patient, and hope for a pop of inspiration.

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