Ah, sleep. One of the great mysteries of life. A state in which we spend a third of our time, doing seemingly nothing. A necessity and yet the first thing to get trimmed from our schedule when push comes to shove. Wild plans exist for those who want to do more with less. But nothing can do away with this essential dead spot in every day.
I think it was about 4 or 5 years ago, around my freshman year in college, that I noticed how my sleep schedule worked. No matter what time I went to bed, if left unattended, I spend about 9 hours, including the time it took to fall asleep and to get out of bed. If I cut that short with an alarm and something to do, it would come back later. I would get out of class feeling hazy and end up dozing off for just about long enough to make my total sleep time 9 hours. I read that the best way to reduce wasted time sleeping was to stick to a consistent schedule, but with the dorm experience, that was not particularly viable. There was one up-side to this, however; I discovered that when my sleep schedule is broken and insufficient is when I have the most interesting and memorable dreams, a fact that remains true today. (Last night's, or rather, this morning's humdinger involved a huge condor, nearly getting attacked by a wild tiger, $5 gas, and a prototype 17-inch iPad. Go figure.)