2 Agosto 2021

SLEEP

Yesterday, Sunday, I took a nap. I regretted it when I woke up this morning at 4 AM. I knew better than that. I knew that napping on Sunday afternoon would potentially rob me of a deep sleep during the night. Hélas! When will I learn?

I have always been a good sleeper. Not lazy as one would think, just attuned to sleeping. In my younger years (and maybe still now) I could sleep anywhere at anytime. Growing up, my siblings probably thought me the sluggard because I was always in bed…always sleeping in. This they say is normal for a teenager because they stay up all night, but as I recall I hadn’t even reached high school age when I was a champion sleeper. I have a photo of me in total slumber. My brother took it almost as a tourist would take a photo of sloth at a zoo!

When I was in the monastery (middle 80’s), especially during formation years, I slept quite a lot. And it wasn’t as if we had to get up early, depriving us of sleep. Our morning prayer started at 7 AM. On a Sunday, I would be up and off to morning prayer and thirty minutes or so later, back in bed. Mass was at 10 AM, so I could sleep at least another two hours. Lunch followed at noon and the rest of the afternoon, at least until dinner at 6 PM was mine to relax…I mean to sleep. Then Evening Prayer was at 7 PM and afterward I had enough energy to get me to at least 10 PM! When I was in graduate school, I had the habit of being up practically all night to write papers that were due the next morning. My motto was, “Perspiration, not inspiration.” Anyway, somehow I got through these early years with as much sleep as I wanted and later, as I found it, needed.

Again, I wasn’t lazy, but I felt lazy because it seemed odd that I could fall asleep under my office desk and slumber during most of a ten-hour flight, sometimes sleeping before we took off!

It wasn’t until much later that I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. Apparently, I would stop breathing once after 55 seconds and was therefore unable to enter into a deep sleep. So, all those years I was ‘suffering from a malady!’ I don’t recall when I was prompted to undergo a sleep study, but I must have been in my forties, so at least 25 years ago. Since then, I have slept with ‘the mask’ and seem to be getting by quite well. The ‘breathing machine’ has made a difference even though it is a hassle, especially when travelling. In the old days, one had to drag along an extra bag for the machine, but now the newer models are ridiculously small. When flying, I would see lots of those ‘gray’ bags and we disordered sleepers in the airport security line knew exactly what was in the bag. Very common indeed. A friend of mine had his bag in the overhead bin for a flight. In fact, he lost his to an old lady who mistakenly grabbed my friend’s gray bag, not her own. Later, the confusion was settled and they both left the airport with their own precious breathing machine. These days, I don’t see many of such machines in TSA lines. Today, as I mentioned, the travel editions are small and fit nicely into an overhead bag and security scanning machines are no longer alarmed to see them.

ZZZZzzzzzzz. How lovely. Someone once said (probably an insomniac) that sleep is God’s divine embrace. I like that.

Published by Thomas

Retired from active priestly ministry in the Catholic Church; former Benedictine monk; francophile; Holocaust researcher; Delta One Million Miler; Ex-Patriated American to the Republic of Panama

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