I firmly believe that every single person has one incredible talent. Every individual has one thing they can do that blows all the competition out of the water. Some people are natural theoretical physicists. Others create awe-inspiring works of art. Still others are always able to find primo parking spots wherever they go.
It took some time to identify my talent. For a while, I thought it was my uncanny ability to attract flying objects — balls, Frisbees, birds, etc. — to my head if I happened to be walking nearby. But it has since become clear that the one thing I’m really, really good at is being asleep. I can sleep circles around people. Although it helps if I’ve had a beer or two, I can fall asleep anywhere, anytime, and stay that way.
I feel kind of bad about this, because a lot of people want very badly to be able to fall asleep in a timely manner and stay asleep. Understandably, they get annoyed or even angry when they hear about my innate skills. If I could pass along any tips I would, but as far as I can tell it’s just something I can do. The same way a dog can learn everything about you by sniffing your crotch, or a slow loris can be the cutest thing on the planet but also full of toxin.
Aside from the occasional inconvenience of falling asleep 10 minutes into movies (and once in a movie theater), my unconscious life is pretty good. Except for one teeny tiny thing.
For the life of me, I can’t wake up. I’ve tried everything.
Techniques for Waking that Should Have Worked
- Waking up at the same time every day. I tried this for a while with no noticeable difference. Now my body does this super cool thing where I have a terrible time waking up on weekday mornings, but on Saturday and Sunday morning I am wide awake and ready to go at 7am.
- Putting my alarm clock across the room. Guess what? You can also turn around and walk the same distance back into your warm, soft bed.
- Waking up between REM cycles. Is it possible that my entire night of sleep was just one mega-REM cycle? Because this did nothing.
- Getting more sleep by going to bed earlier. Early to bed and early to rise may make a man healthy, wealthy and wise but it mostly made me feel elderly and did not help on the waking up front.
- Waking up with natural light. Some mornings my cat bites my hair and yanks on it, and that barely registers. Light never had a chance.
- Drinking so much water that your bladder wakes you. I never time this right. I either have to go right before bed, or I have dreams all night about peeing and sleep through the discomfort.
- Establishing an enjoyable morning ritual that you don’t want to miss. There’s some good stuff in this world — a quiet cup of coffee by yourself, watching the sunrise, meditation. These are all nice. You know what’s better? BEING ASLEEP.
There are very real consequences to sleeping in. I’m lucky to work somewhere with a little leeway in terms of hours, but what happens when I get a different job? On top of that, I have a lot of stuff I need to do. If I sleep in, I miss the businesses that are open, the hours I need to get it all done, and life in general. I am sleeping years of my life away.
But then my brain chimes in, all seductive-like. “You’ve been working really hard, Stephanie,” it says. “You earned this. Just five more minutes. You don’t really have to make tea this morning, do you?”
No, I think. I don’t really need tea. I close my eyes and the five minutes are gone.
“Five more minutes,” my brain says. “It’s good to go makeup-free some days. For feminism, probably.”
Yeah, I think. For feminism. And I’m out again.
Before I know it, I’ve hit the snooze button five times and my brain is trying to tell me that if I stand far enough away from my co-workers all day, no one will notice I haven’t showered.
In this way, my scumbag brain is hijacking my morning and attempting to derail everything I’ve worked for. That’s right — my brain is a terrorist. This aggression will not stand.
I just need to find the SEAL Team Six of alarm clocks.