Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Sleep is for the weak, right? You can sleep when you’re dead. Sleep is overrated. We have heard all of the metaphors. Cool. Have you ever gotten to the point that you can’t remember the last time you slept? Or, the last time you slept for more than a few hours? Outside of someone with insomnia, this can be a common phenomenon within the military. Sleep evades us on the regular. Why?

That might be due to the fact that there are a lot of people who don’t/won’t stop until they’re finished. No, I don’t mean the “never quit” mentality. I mean you literally do not stop, until you are done, complete, finished, etc. — working on whatever you have in front of you. You don’t quit until you complete your task. Odd way of doing business since you can just pick it back up tomorrow, right? Sure. If you are comfortable with always being a day behind. When is the last time you worked on a problem until you found a solution… without taking breaks outside of eating, working out, or grabbing a bathroom break? If you cannot answer that question or you can’t even recall, you are probably one of those people that gets a healthy “eight hours” of sleep a night. That’s cute.

If you cannot see the value in working until you are finished, then allow me to enlighten you. Here is where sleep would evade you even if you laid on that comfy memory foam mattress with your cool gel pillow. Your brain is going 100 mph ­— You’re actively engaged pumping on all cylinders. Your work environment is stressful and the product that you’re working on will literally determine the difference between life or death. Okay, a bit dramatic (for some people). Maybe we can throttle it back a bit, so imagine your product will create awareness that might provide insight to ten other problems you’re working on. Do you think that you can just shut that off? As in climb in bed, turn off your brain, and sleep a sound, heavy sleep? Probably not. More than likely, you would sit in bed and stare at the ceiling while your mind goes through every step you hadn’t completed yet. Is that insomnia? No. That’s just the nature of the job. You’re actively engaged, brain stimulated, constantly crushing small benchmarks on your way to success. It’s possible you would feel this way if you USED YOUR BRAIN TO WORK.

Now do you think you’d sleep well? Or would you rather work until your brain shuts off? Probably the latter. I know that I function that way. If sleeping is healthy, than being healthy is unhealthy. Kind of a weird dichotomy, but it’s slightly true. No, you won’t sacrifice sleep forever. Yes, trying to sleep while in this production factory of brain intensity might be unhealthy. I’m not a doctor and I don’t care about the health benefits so this isn’t a prescription for success, but I’d rather sleep a solid few hours than wonder what stone I left unturned.

There are times where I’ve welcomed the darkness and sat there in bed burning oxygen. I regret not just finishing what I was doing until I was mentally exhausted.

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