Nature’s soft nurse…
Yes, borrowed from Shakespeare it is.. the great litterateur too extolled the virtues of this very important aspect of a living being’s life. For now, I am going to only focus on the homo sapiens.. much as I would love to be broader on coverage.
Volumes written by experts, talks given by Gurus, methodologies extolled, an industry flourishing with the sweet success of slumber- or let’s say the absence of it.
Well, to me, one is born with the virtue or vices of sleep and could fall in one of the several categories.
The Wilful (not defaulters) sleepers
This is the species that sleeps at will. Found catching up with loud rumbling sounds even before the ‘fasten seat-belt’ sign has come on in flights. This category seems to know exactly what time of day or place they are going to make use of to catch up on the much needed rest. Awake a minute, asleep the next- to be waking up (or being woken up) exactly when it is time to gain senses.
It’s envyingly amazing how such people do not require their teas/ coffees to get the ignition started. Rearing to go, they may actually spring out of their sleep/ seats jostling their way right ahead in the line, lest the aircraft took off without deboarding them!
Of course, they may suffer a faux pas (as happened with an acquaintance) reaching the wrong destination having boarded a wrong flight!! (Yes, all other checks having failed), this is what happens in the rush to optimize that very wanted resource which seemed to have been put on hold for much else.
The Unwilling defaulters
This has several sub-categories- the tiny infant, who much to the chagrin of very harried parents/ grandparents just refuses to shut-eye! Its almost as if, having left the dark inners of the womb, too excited to give up on all that this lovely world had to offer. This category can come with various decibel levels of excitement or frustration (at being attempted to force back to exactly what they don’t want). It generally activates itself when much of that time zone has descended into darkness and silence- and especially if you are in the confines of (yes, you guessed it) – that same aircraft with the rumbling noises from another seat. Don’t worry, the previous category does definitely not get bothered by such tiny intrusions into the dream world.
But there is another sub-category of these Unwilling defaulters- the ones that are stuck – much later in life- in a professional institute, with a deadline that just did not have enough hours/ days/ weeks to get done. Thus, is required the much-needed midnight oil/ fluorescence. In several cases, this category may not be the most productive at those hours and may be seen bleary eyed in front of screens, but then there are others who may just be hovering around expressing solidarity with others who may be copiously typing on their screens.
Whether willing or unwilling, the defaulters just seem to put on hold an activity considered so essential. As the experts would tell us- we are slated to spend 30% of our lives doing it, if we are to actually live right, or shall I say, sleep right!
The Compulsive (disorder) sleepers
Now this category is the one for whom sleep is like the mother of all cures! They can sleep when they want, as much as they want and wherever they want. And they want a lot! Its like that potion they have drunk which seems to allow for this endless vista of the dream world, irrespective of whether the power cut off, or that there was a time bomb ticking to go off.
Its almost unbelievable how much of their lives such people can spend sleeping. Gifted as they are in this relentless pursuit, it seems there isn’t much else they look forward to their lives.
Now this is that category of people who for no reason at all will be found pushing their boundaries on the kingdom of sleep. Well, to be fair, the boundaries may be their definitions of them, but not very obvious to those who may lead more normal lives. These folks are generally found burning the midnight oil/ screen, or hopping from one pub to another, like there is no tomorrow (day or night) to meet the next friend in line and it had to all be done before you bid farewell to the world tonight.
These folks may generally not be at their productive best, both visibly and mentally, but it seems to be the personality they excude and seemingly feel proud in. That sympathy from colleagues for having slept for “barely a couple of hours” is just what they seem to wallow in.
Now the bright side of this behaviour is the fact, that when they engage with the very tiny Unwilling defaulters (a.k.a young parents), they seem to adjust pretty seamlessly, or so it should be!
The Process Guru
As the name suggests, this category needs all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed! Ablutions complete, the AC set on right temperature, the bed laid to precision, the alpha music in place, the aroma candle positioned.. the list may go on.. including whether the night clothes had the right level of softeners or not. Yes, luxuries several of us would balk at- these are necessities for this category of slumber experts! Well, God-willing next morning (note that this category does not generally believe in siestas, the process too painful to be repeated during the day) if their fit-bits show the right amount of sleep obtained, their fastidious selves would be smug in the glows of the achievement, not to mention the beauty sleep!
As many humans, as many categories, coz we are each our own selves- made to believe, there is none other like us.. so is there none other with a similar sleep type. Traversing categories in very short spans of time, displaying characteristics peculiar to our type, and at the end of it, appreciating more and more this very precious gift – appreciated only by those who have not been presented aplenty!