the lost man chronicles
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choosing not to sleep my life away
(foregoing REM in the name of enlightenment and extraordinary productivity)

I have a theory that the usual last 2-3 hours of the widely prescribed ď8 hours of sleepĒ people should get, can be put to better use. The current issue of Time magazine touts that new research indicates that sleep may not necessarily serve regenerate our bodies as has long been believed, but rather may act to regenerate our brains.

Based on extensive experience and self-observation, I have come to believe that the amount of time that has been traditionally advocated, can be curtailed and applied toward more productive and creative purposes. And I believe this to be part of the secret to Thomas Edisonís legendary extraordinary productivity.

For the last year I have on average had 5-6 hours of sleep for most nights, going to sleep at 10 and waking up at 4. I have found that I am extraordinarily productive during these early hours. As Hedley Lamarr spouts in Blazing Saddles, it is during these twilight hours that "my mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives."

Granted, no one else is up at this god-forsaken hour, so there are no interruptions and no demands as usually otherwise incurred, which in turn might partly explain the high-productivity quotient.

However, I still believe that my mind is working at an extra ordinarily high-speed when it comes to creativity, originality and insightómuch like we do when we dream during the REM phase of sleep. And thatís the catch for me, because it is only when I forgo this intense period of sleep that that my mind and imagination are unusually revved I comparison to the rest of my waking-working hours.

What further drives home this conclusion for me is the fact that Iíve tried hard to concentrate on other tasks such as reading during this period, but alas (as well as to my good fortune) most the time I am compelled to ponder and write down all the great thoughts that flow from this mysterious grey matter of mine.

Moreover, this hypothesis continually is supported by real life experience. For this morning I slept until 5, an hour past my usual 4, and I had a horribly startling nightmare, which I immediately felt was not worth having. I had derived no insight into my waking life as dreams are purported to provide, and ultimately it only fed some real-life fears that I otherwise prefer to repress. This incident, like so many others like it, said to me that I can either choose to put to use this period of sleep to extraordinary use or let it be wasted.

Granted, we do not yet fully understand the impact of foregoing these usually somnolent hours, and we may never really comprehend it during my lifetime, but after a year of my own experimentation and attempts at greater self-awareness I can confidently conclude that by losing a little sleep I am somehow mysteriously a-mused to create and enlightened with much greater insight than that I might have otherwise lost while sleeping my life away.




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