Who are the ‘sleepless elite’?
Writer Jay Mullings gives a different view of our sleep-deprived society. For him, only being able to sleep for a few hours a night is part of his self-empowerment.
My name is Jay Mullings and as the title suggests; I am a member of the sleepless elite. What on earth is the sleepless elite you ask?
You would certainly be forgiven for thinking, “It is an ancient order of wealthy individuals who have been cursed with eternal life for acquiring their riches through unconscionable greed.” (That actually sounds pretty interesting; give me a moment while I jot that down…)
The sleepless elite are people who function properly without the regular prescribed amount of sleep (currently that’s 7-8 hours).
For good reason, it isn’t broadly disseminated that people exist that function highly and even thrive with little or no sleep. The reasons for that seem to be sensible enough. A lack of a sleep routine is usually a symptom of illness, be it physical or mental. This information may cause confusion and many people identifying as something they are not when they need medical assistance. However, it’s time people knew not everyone needs slumber for 1/3 of their day. I’m living proof of that…
Naturally you will want some questions answered, I will do my best to wear my psychic hat and preempt them.
How Often Do You Sleep?
At the best of times, I sleep daily for 3 hours up to a maximum of 5. At the worst of times, I can be awake as long as 42 hours – just under two days for the mathematically challenged.
At the moment, I am getting my 3-5 and nothing is slowing me down! For those of you who are unconvinced, I sometimes live tweet my hours of sleep. No scheduled posts, just me responding in real time to tweets.
Sleep during the day is near enough impossible for me. Once it’s daylight any chance of sleep reduces to zero. So quite frankly, I either get some sleep in the middle of the night (bedtime of 2-4AM) or it doesn’t happen until the following day or so. The only things that drastically upset my natural sleeping hours are sickness or changing time zones. I have heard of people being to ‘micro sleep’ as in doze off and recharge in short bursts as little as 2-5 minutes, honestly I’m a little jealous! I don’t micro sleep…
How Do You Function? How is your health? What Do You Do With Your Days?
Wow three at once? Patience!
Hopefully I will be functioning very well for a very long time! So far so good! I have a varied lifestyle. There are many exciting activities on my plate. The risk factor is also very high. I write screenplays (Film and TV), blogs, poetry, books and recently I have started songwriting. Presently I am working on a documentary that is very dear to me and in the near future I will hopefully be a regular on Streaming and Podcasting platforms. In short I am a high functioning creative with tons of ambition that is vigilant about health (Physical, Mental and Emotional).
How Long Have You Been Like This? Does Time Pass Differently For You?
Wow the old ‘how did you know?’ question. The honest answer would be that I have become increasingly aware as an adult. Looking at life through my own eyes, I have seen that there are always counters and exceptions to theories/arguments/points of view. There is a state of needing to sleep constantly that we know as narcolepsy. It may not be all that common amongst the majority of the population (small by comparison) but if this condition exists, then so too must the opposite, i.e. not needing to sleep as much as the majority. When I thought of it this way I realized I was always someone who needed less sleep than most people did. From a young age I was regularly on long haul flights (alone mostly) to and from Jamaica (8+ hours at least). Airhostesses must’ve hated me because I was constantly buzzing the pager to have something, be it cards, peanuts, juice, water, food for the entire duration of the flight. I would go through entire books like hot cakes, listen to whole albums and watch pretty much all the decent films they had to offer. Then I’d land and immediately after getting off, I’d want to do something exciting/energetic. I used to be that person who would say, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!” That’s how long I have been this way…
Perhaps time does pass by differently for me. I am very capable of moving things along rapidly. This article for instance, will end up taking my just under 40 minutes to type up straight from my head. It would have been 15 minutes if done as a voice recording. To answer the question: I am supremely aware of time and what can be achieved in it. How it moves in relation to other people I can’t say for sure…
Do You Take Anything Including Caffeine?
I can’t let you get away with that part of the question! Caffeine? Me? Didn’t you hear me say I can be awake as long as 42 hours at times? What on earth would I be doing with caffeine? No, I’m not a religious ‘Bucker’. I’m not that sort of writer…
As for pills? I tried them; they work in a way that renders them useless. Let me explain; when I was a teenager I used to have acne from shaving (partly why I have a massive beard now, my skin doesn’t like razors) and the doctors gave me medication for it. The only problem was it then put acne on my back. They then gave me something to counter the back acne, which then put the irritation, and acne back around my neck and face. It worked but it didn’t really work. The same with sleeping pills, 1mg and 2mg do nothing. 4-6, now we’re in business but it makes me so drowsy the next day that I’d be useless at doing anything anyway. So I don’t take the pills. Also they wreak havoc on your liver.
I can wreak havoc on my liver all by myself if I wanted to and it would be more fun than taking these pills!
Does Not Sleeping Concern You?
No not really! My blood pressure great and my weight has remained constant over a 5-year span. The only thing that ever worries me is when I lose my appetite; I love food!
Tips For Getting The Most Out of Your Sleep?
Say no to blue light! All my devices have night mode enabled. This is where it warms the screen instead of the colder blue light, which your brain interprets pretty much the same way it does daylight i.e. its goal is to keep you awake/alert.
I tend to do the more relaxing activities in my day towards the end so that it calms me enough to be able to rest. For instance, if you like ironing, (I do and so what?) last thing before bed is prime ironing time. If you find gaming relaxing, the same and if it’s meditation do that. Start tapering off the noise level in your surroundings. Loud music before bed makes no sense. Turn it down and change the mood to a relaxing one. Also, start reducing the amount of lights on.
Invest in some essential oils/diffusers and find the ones that relax you the most. Right before bed get some going. I use either Lavender/Ylang Ylang or Frankincense on my wrist or pillowcase. Dab a little, NB: they are strong and long lasting you don’t want to overwhelm your senses. If you like being warm make sure your surroundings are warm enough just before bed and if you like to be cool the same applies.
There you go sleep advice from someone who doesn’t sleep much! You’re welcome!
Are There Others Out There Like Me?
You say that like I’m some kind of alien! Yes! 100%! There have been those before me and there will be more after me.
On a serious note, listen to some of the anecdotes of famous athletes, musicians, physicians and other creative people. They often tell you about the crazy hours they keep while in pursuit of their goals. First in and last out! It’s not that unusual to be so switched on to your potential that your ambition becomes your energy source. Just like there are many people who have no ambition or desire to do anything. What do their energy levels look like? You tell me!
Jay Mullings is an award-winning screenwriter, and author of The Thought Books 1 & 2, out now
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