Sleep is something all humans need. How much sleep we need is arguable, but we all seem to perform our daily tasks better if we get at least a modicum of sleep.
Some of us like to stick to a schedule of regular bedtime. Routine helps lower stress and anxiety. Some of us like to stay up late, fighting off drowsiness to progress further in our chosen nighttime activity.
Some of us can just plop into a horizontal position and drift right off into unconsciousness without much effort. Some of us can lie awake for hours, trying to quell the thoughts of the day long enough to get some shut-eye.
Some of us can sleep in silence, avoiding noise as much as possible. Some of us require something to drown out the deafening nothingness of absolute quiet.
I remember when I was a teenager, alone in my room, I used to often play music at night as I started the going-to-sleep ritual. It didn’t really matter what kind of music it was (I could listen to heavy metal, even). Listening to something rhythmic and melodic somehow soothed my mind and even acted as a gateway to sleep. In my first two years of college, now sharing a room with a roommate, I must’ve switched to headphones or just substituted the humming of a computer. Later, when I got my own room back while sharing an apartment with Josh, I started using a fan to accompany the computer. Music was still used, but I don’t remember it being used as often.
Once I started regularly sharing a room with Robyn, I didn’t use music at all, and there wasn’t a computer in the bedroom, so it was just a fan. Robyn has a noise-making machine that plays a soft “river stream” loop, and that acts as a reasonable fan substitute. Basically, I worry about hearing random outside noise or next-door neighbor noise, partly because it can mess with the ironic uniformity of “random” white noise generators, and because I know it bothers Robyn, and things that bother Robyn can bother me just because they bother her.
All this is to say that I’m definitely not very comfortable going to sleep in a quiet room at a pre-set time. The long hours of college nights instilled a “go to bed when you’re tired” mentality. This could mean going to sleep at 2am, but it could also mean going to sleep at 5am. With a schedule that changed every day, it allowed for this kind of chaos. After college, the working world imposed a much more rigid schedule on me. However, my sleeping patterns continue to mirror college-era ways. Thankfully, I’m someone who can get four hours of sleep and still function (at least in my current line of work) the next day. I feel this is true due in part of my particular biology, as well as in part to this college life conditioning.
Also, when I go to sleep, I don’t really go to sleep. I pass out. It’s less of a “time for bed” and more of a “I can’t stay awake any longer” type of deal. I like to work on projects, be they gaming, programming, or musicking. I don’t work on them around a sleep schedule; the sleep schedule works around them. For the time when we have to wrangle a child, I feel my way will be more useful, merely due to the flexibility. Of course, my way also means that I sometimes need to take a 3 hour nap from 4pm to 7pm on a random workday. Robyn tends to have a very set schedule of consciousness. Mine is sometimes unpredictable. We yin yang all up ins, yo.
In conclusion, this is not a post to advocate the crazy bohemian sleep lifestyle, but more of an observation on how sleep works in my world. I don’t hate sleep and I don’t actively pursue trying to zombify myself on a daily basis. I just don’t see it as a goal, but more of a result. It may seem weird, but that’s just how it ended up manifesting itself to me.