I could have snoozed for Australia.
Seriously, I had representative potential as a snorer. I could drop off anywhere, anytime.
Mum would all but use a large stick to get me to school. It annoyed her each and every morning.
Horrendous radio shift work didn’t worry me. I’d sleep all day. Or all night. Take your pick.
In later years, I’d be in dreamland before my head hit the pillow. And eyes would not open until that alarm was blaring.
So what’s happened? Why can’t I sleep a full night anymore? What’s with waking up in the dark?
I think back to some record-breaking efforts in the land of nod. I once slept for a full weekend. If it happened today, I’d be getting a medal from an FM radio station.
It was after a cruise on the Fairstar. The Funship. Let’s just say that as young men, sleep was well down on the list of priorities.
We saw the sun come up, as we sailed into Sydney Heads. Cool drinks had been consumed at a fair rate. For eleven days. Slumber was counted in minutes, not hours.
I caught the train home. Walked in the front door late Friday afternoon. Gave Mum a cheap Suva carving. And went to bed.
I pulled the covers up at around 5pm that day. And I slept the sleep of the dead. Saturday came and went. Sunday morning was lost too. This was a Guinness Book of Records snooze. Mum was ready to call an ambulance.
I emerged from my darkened room, with a two-day growth, on Sunday afternoon. Gave her a kiss, and promptly went to the pub. The boys were waiting for me. They were impressed. As only 18 year olds could be.
Forget sleeping 40 hours. These days, I struggle with 40 minutes.
A mate told me he heard someone on talkback say that all blokes will eventually wake up at 2am. It was a comment with absolutely no scientific fact behind it. But that matters little. He now wakes up at 2am. Every morning. And can’t get back to sleep.
My magic figure is 4.15am. No matter how tired I am, that’s when my eyes open. Day after day.
I don’t want to be awake. 4.15 is a time for bakers and breakfast radio hosts to be up and about. Not me. I want to be dreaming about my speech as a winning owner at the 2018 Melbourne Cup.
But I can’t get back to sleep. Not until I’ve thought about stuff. A long list that could surely be dealt with at a more respectable time.
I start going over the wonderful things I want to do with my life. And the people I want around me. Special people. I question why things take time. Or happen so quickly.
The bleary-eyed problem here is, all this could be done later. When the sun is up. Or going down. Not at 4.15.
I’ve tried lots of things to get back to sleep. Someone told me to imagine placing my over-active brain in a shoebox, so that all thought ceases. Sounds good, until you see how small my shoebox is. Something else to worry about.
Maybe it’s a temporary thing. A phase, where minimal sleep is sufficient. I might be days away from lapsing back into those marathon snooze sessions.
In the meantime, I’m catching up on my rest wherever I can. At the dinner table. Driving to work. At the checkout. Cat naps to recharge. You won’t even notice.
If you ever need to pass the time at 4.15, I’m your man. We’ll be sleep-deprived together. Just place your tiny shoebox next to mine.