The Stuff of Nightmares


What happens when people don’t sleep well? I don’t know about other people but when I don’t get enough sleep my day might as well be counted as lost. In this post: rumination about crankiness, lack of high-quality sleep, nightmares, dinosaurs and shoebill storks. Happy beginning of the week and may we all sleep well tonight!

I am trying to figure out why the world seems sadder and emptier today; it is certainly not the dust or the weather, I’ve gotten used to those. The temporary decoloration of life might be associated with the long to-do list for this week, except that most of those are fun things like taking care of my plants, and writing, and drawing. The fridge is full of good food. Having a full fridge always gives me the ultimate feeling of prosperity; prosperity underlies feelings of stability and safety, all of that is great. Then what is the problem? I suspect that it has to do with a lack of high-quality sleep.

It took me a long time to get to sleep last night, and I spent most of the night dreaming about a shoebill stork. That was unsettling for me. A shoebill stork looks just like its name suggests, a huge bird with a boot on its beak and an intimidatingly bad attitude. My dreams were surreal, disorganized, and that thing kept appearing on and off on my dream-sight to the point that I told my sleeping self, “I am obsessed with that bird!” Birds are the descendants of dinosaurs, and if you look closely at some of them, they can seem fierce and terrifying. I remember this dream I used to have when I was a teenager, in which a T-rex would chase me around my parent’s house. This dinosaur was just about a head taller than the house, “Aha!”, I would think in my dream, “If I go inside it cannot catch me.” So into the house I went, but in my dream the T-rex had superpowers, it was able to shrink itself into the size of a tall person and follow me in. So did the stork do last night; I would awake from a disjointed dream, fall asleep a few seconds after to find the stork constantly eating lungfish and staring at me with its merciless avian eyes. “Damn it, shoebill stork! Give me a break!” No such luck. Perhaps I watched too many animals shows last night and that distressing bird was there to remind me of my obligations. Who knows?

Anyway, notwithstanding mean birds, dinosaurs, paperwork to go through, and the unending search for the meaning of life, the truth is that brains that don’t sleep well don’t think well. Science has not yet completely figured out why we need to sleep, but it is pretty well known that we don’t function at our top capabilities, that we humans can even get depressed when we don’t get enough high-quality sleep. “No Roxanna, the world is not worse today than yesterday, at least not your world,” that is what Stick Person would say, “Get your ass back to work.” And so I, ever obedient, got my ass into writing this short blog post. But, if I am disorganized, cranky, and ineffective today, I am true to my biology and my humanity which is just one more fact of life to deal with.

In the meantime, I will give this my best try and know that things are not as annoying as they appear to be. Happy beginning of the week and may we all sleep well tonight!