Until a couple of years ago I called myself a catnapper. I have been one since at least 1966 that I can remember. I used to wake up after a couple of hours of sleep and then toss and turn for a couple of hours trying to get back to sleep. Finally I realized that instead of tossing and turning, which pretty much accomplishes nothing, I could do something constructive, like read a book, or learn a new word out of my dictionary, or read an entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica. I couldn’t practice the piano, the violin, or sing, though. Not at 3:00 in the morning.
Then I went off to college at Texas A&M University. I used to schedule all my classes in the morning, 8-12, come home and take a nap, do homework, and then party. My roommates thought I was crazy for scheduling morning classes but then when 7:00 p.m. rolled around and I went out to party, leaving them to do their homework, they were just a wee bit jealous. Not jealous enough to start scheduling morning classes, though. Their sleep was too important to them.
A couple of years ago I was doing some research and discovered that there now is a medical term for people like me. Instead of being called catnappers, the medical profession calls us polyphasic sleepers. I get about 8 hours of sleep a day, but it comes in phases instead of all at once. And because I rarely enter REM sleep, I rarely dream. Maybe once every five years I have a dream, or maybe those are daydreams. Hmmmmm.
During the years right after college, I discovered that with just a 30-minute catnap, I could work for 4 hours. So when one of my early employers needed after hours help, I was only too happy to volunteer, especially since after hours also meant extra pay.
Over the years, I have used my polyphasic sleep (dis)order to make myself available 24/7 to my clients. People thought I was crazy until I explained to them that I don’t work 24/7, I only make myself available 24/7. So if I go to bed and the phone rings, I answer it, self problems, work for another 3 to 4 hours, and take another catnap. It created a unique selling point to set me apart from my competition.
One of my businesses in the late ’80s and early ’90s was a computer store. Since the personal computer industry was still quite new, I advertised “CONSULTANTS AVAILABLE 24/7 AT NO EXTRA CHARGE.” My business boomed.
When I got into real estate full time, I advertised, “REAL ESTATE DOESN’T SLEEP! NEITHER DO WE! AVAILABLE 24/7.” Business boomed.
With that said, here are four of my favorite songs about this thing called sleep:
Tossin’ and Turnin’ by Bobby Lewis
Dream On by Aerosmith
Dream Weaver by Gary Wright
(Last Night) I Didn’t Get To Sleep At All by The Fifth Dimension