I don't sleep much anymore. I used to be proud of the fact that I could be in top form with only 4 hours of sleep. It was my advantage. Everyone else needed those eight hours, but I could keep going. My sophomore year of college, I worked on an outdoor production of Little Shop of Horrors. The set was huge (about 65 feet wide and 10 feet tall). Because we were outdoors and in the middle of "the quad", we had to stay with all of the equipment all of the time, which meant sleeping out there. Hey, it was always fun to go your first class in the same clothes as the days before smelling like death. People thought your were just doing the Walk of Shame (yes, you are to note the sarcasm). When it was my turn, I just wouldn't sleep. It wasn't a problem back then. Go a night without sleep? Hell, you could make it up later. I remember sitting in a desk watching over everything while everyone else slept. At two or three in the morning it was like heaven. There was no light and no noise except for the wind. You could look up and just see all of the stars (that were visible from that part of St. Louis). As someone who believes in some of the zen qualities of life, those moments were precious in a way.
I grew up in a household where both my parents worked very hard. My father essentially had three jobs and my mother two. Dad would go to bed around 4 or 5 in the morning and get up around 8. He never faltered. It was quite amazing, and it's probably the reason why I can go without sleep (at least I hope it's genetic). Sure, I get cranky, but who doesn't when they don't sleep?
Still, I love the time between 2 & 5 in the morning. No one is around, most sensible people are asleep, and the world is quiet. Think of our world as a radio. From sun-up to after the evening news, it's like Motorhead blasting at level 11. There's so much to take in and process, and we have to then apply what we've learned through the filter of our beliefs. It's draining. I tell my students that work, to me, isn't hard, but living in reality is. After 11, that's party time. We head out to the bars or what have you, and become party people. Zany stories are shared, etc. We can't stop being "on" until we get away from it all.
In the musical Guys and Dolls, Sky Masterson sings about how his kind of time, "is the dark time." That's the stretch of time I mean. No one is out and about. This is when the radio is shut off. Before 24-hour channels, there would be nothing on TV or radio or whatever after a certain hour. Now, you can find whatever, whenever.
We're losing that time now. Urban areas are growing (or sprawling as it were). I live in Robbinsdale, which is outside the city of Minneapolis. On the three levels of "major cities", Minneapolis is a third-tier city. Cities like New York or Los Angeles are first tier. Second tier cities are slightly smaller, such as Detroit or St. Louis. Then there are the third tiers, such as Minneapolis or Nashville. You get the idea. Because it is third-tier, it's smaller, quieter, and not as bright. You go to New York, and you have to go pretty far away from the city to keep the lights from affecting your view of the stars. I live pretty close to the city, but at three in the morning, you can see the stars because there's less light affecting the view.
I find this time not only relaxing, but it's the best time to think about things. There's nothing to affect your mind. If I'm up, I start thinking about the world and such. (I don't really want to get political on my site, because there's too much out there already. If asked, I will share my thoughts, but I don't like getting political.)
Try it sometime. Take a Saturday and sleep in late. Then go about your day and do whatever you have to until that 2 in morning hour. You'll find three things happen:
1. The world slows down.
2. Your mind works at a different pace
3. You have the ability to concentrate on things better without those distractions.
Maybe it's just me. I'm not really an insomniac, more of a workaholic or thinkaholic actually. Once your life hits routine (and if you're working and married, and/or have kids, it will), you'll find that it's harder to take time to think. Not to work, not to relax, just to think.
And now, I have to get ready and go to work. Have a nice day folks.