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The Cody Blog: Sleepless in Somnia

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Sleepless in Somnia

I used to hate nights like tonight. When I was a kid, I'd have sleepless nights, and I'd worry myself sick over how unhealthy it was. Nice vicious cycle that was.

I remember a sleepless night before my first game as quarterback of Ruidoso Middle School. I'd always been a great athlete and had lead the Colts to Ruidoso's Little League Football Superbowl the year before in a 56-0 blowout, scoring all the touchdowns except for the two I'd thrown.

But I was a late bloomer. And by the time we'd started 8th grade football, I wasn't as dominant as I'd been, simply because I wasn't as physically developed as my teammates. And I was nervous about that first game, worried that I wouldn't dominate the other team, that I'd let my teammates and myself down, anxious that we'd lose. I had a tumutuous relationship with my father growing up (to put it kindly), but it was times like that when he really was there for me.

He must have heard me getting up to walk around, to go to the bathroom, to drink water, and he came downstairs and sat on my bed to talk to me. And told me stories of his football days, when he'd been a reciever on a great high school football team in Madison, Kansas. It didn't help me sleep, but it did calm me down. And I did finally get a few hours sleep that night.

And I got up the next day and helped my team to a victory against some middle school from Roswell. As an aside, I shattered my ankle into 8 pieces two games later as I ran a trick play around the end and got hit wrong. I wonder how much of that injury was from being underdeveloped but going all out against a bunch of men in pads.

As I've gotten older, the sleepless nights come more often. And I still don't like it much. But I embrace it. I use it to my advantage. I write. I play music. I go on walks through the wacky East Village. I watch TV. I read.

Tonight I had myself two 45 minute "naps", I guess you'd call it. Slept a full 8 hours last night though.

I average 5 or 6 hours of sleep anyway. That means I sleep 2 hours less than most people. That means I have 14 extra hours per week. That means I have four extra days per month of "awake time". That means I have 48 days extra per year -- the equivalent of a month and a half.

Sigh. How's that for a "flip it" of looking at insomnia upside down and making it a good thing.

PS. Speaking of "Sleepless"...Meg Ryan, Melanie Griffith -- still can't tell them apart, despite all that plastic surgery. Or maybe it's gotten harder to.

PPS. Andy Roddick, Leyton Hewitt -- maybe it's just me and my lack of sportsfanmanship, but I can't tell them apart either.

PPS. Was going to note this. But tried googling it instead and found I am certainly not the only one thinking it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cody: I don’t know how you pull it off. Lately I've come to the realization that the only way to finish off everything on my plate is to sleep less hrs. But it really takes a toll on me the next day. Any suggestions on how to sustain sleeplessness?

9/14/2005 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Cody Willard said...

I think it's just something innate in me. I'm just not programmed to sleep well. Even when I do sleep, it's never hard and I wake up at the slightest movement or noise. It sucks, frankly. But I accept it.

9/14/2005 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger skeedaddy said...

I've got a tip for you, anonymous: in the book Monkey Business, there is a brief discussion about how the investment bankers stay awake during meetings after going two days without sleep. My favorite technique is to put your hands in your pockets and yank out your leg hairs. In case you are a woman, this serves the dual purpose of saving you shaving time!

9/15/2005 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Gabe said...

Hey Cody,
I heard a psychologist who is an expert on sleep, James Maas, speak at a dinner that I attended over here. I asked him about people like you. People who give up sleep to achieve more (I know you don't give sleep up willingly). He claims that people who sleep enough each night (at least 8hrs) accomplish more than people who do anything for those extra hours that they are awake. He cited the stories of achievers like Lance Armstrong and Sara Hughes who sleep almost ten hours per night when at competitions.

I am unable to post a link to his books on amazon.com but I included his page at Cornell for you to check out.


9/16/2005 01:07:00 AM  

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