The last time I pulled an all-nighter was at summer camp. I was a counsellor and we were preparing for an all-day camp-wide special program. We stayed up until dawn painting banners and each other (we were goofy-tired), laughing and singing. Had the stamina to continue on the next day like I was ready to run a marathon…but I was also 17!
The most recent all-nighter I pulled was last night. This time around, however, I was 46…not 17 and was not intending to stay up.
I got into bed the night before, as I normally do, at 11, fully rested, restored and mellow (or so I thought) from our recent March Break vacation.
Normally, my wife or I turn off the TV in our room by around 11:30 but this night, I kept it on until after midnight partially because of a great show I was watching but also because I just wasn’t ready to fall asleep. Plus, I had had a big dinner, felt stuffed and being home from vacation and back to reality, had my mind starting to spin at a rapid pace.
I was hoping to fall asleep with the TV on…which is not a bad thing. Instead, I stayed up until the end of the show and then deliberately turned it off, rolled over and tried to fall asleep.
No luck. I tossed and turned for about an hour while my wife was gently snoring (unlike me) beside me. Eventually I said, “screw it” and made my way down a floor, pillow in hand, to the second floor den with a giant L-shaped sofa and a TV.
There have been in times in the past where it has taken a bit longer for me to fall asleep and I make my way to the den to watch TV without disrupting my wife. Usually, I crash on the sofa and nod off to sleep until morning.
Not last night. I saw every freakin’ hour.
Its amazing how creative and active the mind can be when the body is so physically tired. Its also amazing how quickly your mind can fill up with unnecessary worry and heavy thoughts…kinda like mine did last night.
As an aspiring “Enlightened Male”, I have been working diligently on trying to rid my mind of these unnecessary thoughts as they serve me no purpose. These negative thoughts usually involve the future and what might unfold. However, my rational mind fights and reminds me that I have no control over future events even if I try my best to affect them by taking steps in the present. So many variables and things beyond my control can undo any work done in the present…so why bother?
Yet these thoughts still come. They involve things like employment, finances, health, the well-being of my family…they are countless. I have also realized that watching CNN or CBC at 3 o’clock in the morning which usually provides bleak and depressing information about world events (war, recession, debt, politics, tragedy) is the not smartest viewing choice at that hour (or any hour, for that matter).
So, what can I do?
Well, firstly, pulling an all-nighter, like I just did and surviving to tell the tale, has made me realize that I can make do without sleep. I am a bit groggy today and my eyes are heavy and sore but I will survive.
I don’t want to make a habit of the all-nighter, though. I intend on partaking in some light exercise because I know it will only benefit me both physically and mentally. I know I will peter-out later this evening but that is cool because I will crawl back into bed at my usual hour and know that my eyes will close and I will have a good sleep.
But I now further appreciate the importance of sleep and the need to not only rest the body but to also rest the mind. If I could have harnessed the energy from my active mind last night, I could have easily provided power to my house!
So, as I look forward to 11 o’clock tonight, wish me luck and sweet dreams.