Why Do I Write When I Sleep?

The clock strikes midnight and I’m unable to sleep.

I’ve been lying on the bed for the past hour, alternating between closing my eyes to focus on my breathing pattern and opening my eyes to stare at the ceiling. It’s so dark that I can’t see much of the ceiling at all. I always turn off all the lights and pull the curtains together to transform my bedroom into a passable copy of a darkroom.

I try to focus on my breathing again — I read somewhere that it slows down the mind’s never-stopping stream of thoughts and makes falling asleep easier. As I expected, it doesn’t work. Maybe it doesn’t work because I don’t want it to work? I don’t know.

I’m tired after a long week that shows no signs of ending. I’m exhausted by the banalities of work that sounds fun but isn’t — at least not all the time. So, why can’t I sleep even though I’m tired and exhausted. Wait, don’t ‘tired’ and ‘exhausted’ mean the same thing? I’m going crazy!

Frustrated by my failure to sleep, I get up from the bed, switch on the light, pull out my laptop and start typing. Maybe, writing something will soothe my frayed nerves? Writing is easy. It’s writing something that makes sense that is difficult.

My writing skills are the stuff legends are made of. As if. All I have is a mediocre ability to pen my stream of thoughts with fewer grammatical mistakes than fifty percent of the population. Remember what I said about writing something that makes sense? Well, my writing doesn’t. At least, not initially.

I get distracted very easily and my thoughts are scattered all over the place. I can be thinking and writing about a guy waiting for his friend to show up at the bar, and a second later, I might be thinking of going to a bar and getting sloshed. Yet another second later, I might be thinking of the beautiful girl I met at a bar a few days ago and the tangents go on!

As a result, I have to force myself to write a lot of rubbish and then edit it carefully to put together something legible and comprehensible. Case in point, what am I writing right now? A treatise on life. Ha!

I’m now thinking of my checklist for the week that I can never seem to follow. For posterity’s sake, let me jot it down…


It has taken me weeks to create THE PLAN. I want to become lean, fit and happy. THE PLAN is simple due to the fact that I’m not willing to cut down on certain comforts and habits. I hope to make THE PLAN a habit. Someday.

THE PLAN consists of seven steps.

Step One — Go to sleep by ten in the night and wake up at five in the morning.

Step Two — Go to the gym by quarter past five and do some high-intensity interval training for two hours. My version of high-intensity interval training is a lot of running at full pace on the treadmill with short breaks and roughly half an hour of crunches, planks and weights. The goal is to be sweaty and tired by the end of it, with my heart feeling as if it’s going to jump out of my body.

Step Three — Get out of the house by eight in the morning, go to work, and come back home by seven in the evening. Everything at work has to be completed without any pending tasks that might have to be carried home.

Step Four — This is an intervening step that involves food. Have a light breakfast, maybe some Tea and Bread, by ten in the morning. By one in the afternoon, have a full lunch, preferably lots of Rice and Dal with some Potato Fry. Later in the day, around five in the evening, have some Coffee and Biscuits. Do not eat anything with carbohydrates after six in the evening.

Step Five — Come home by seven in the evening, get back to the gym and run for an hour. Spend the next hour with family — no TV allowed and eat some raw vegetables.

Step Six — At nine in the night, read a book or write something for the next hour. Then, go to sleep. No extra activities.

Step Seven — This is the most important part as it refers to comforts and habits that I want to control. Do not smoke cigarettes before and after office hours. Do not drink alcohol except on Saturdays.

To make the entire routine bearable, I’ve setup ‘cheat days’ — the weekends, when I can do anything I want as long as I sleep for twelve hours each day.

I think THE PLAN is very simple. I know it’s not going to be easy to follow and stick to but I have to try. I’ve already encountered a few roadblocks…

Well, this is where I fell asleep last night… Writing to sleep is weird! Let me finish this… Roadblocks!


Roadblock One — Going to sleep is not as easy as saying it. What I did last night is probably the best illustration of my struggle.

Roadblock Two — Waking up at five in the morning is a nightmare! All I need is five more minutes of sleep that turns out to be another hour or two. When I finally reach the gym, my heart feels like it’s going to burst after fifteen minutes of running. My two-hour plan might actually lead to Cardiac Arrest!

Roadblock Three — Getting to work on time is a minor issue. The only problem is finding a cab and avoiding traffic. Getting out of work is the bigger problem — so much to do…

Roadblock Four — Somehow, I stuck to the diet plan for two weeks. Somebody give me a prize! Had to break it during an outstation trip though. My prize is gone…

Roadblock Five — Going to the gym once in a day should be enough, right? Eating raw vegetables? I’d rather go hungry!

Roadblock Six — Reading a book sounds so much more exciting when the alternative is writing something. There is nothing interesting going on. So, what am I supposed to write about? Imaginary encounters? Not as easy as putting words on paper — I do that all the time. No extra activities… What about calls from friends?

Roadblock Seven — The worst one of the lot and the one that I haven’t managed to follow at all. I’m an addict, I guess.

Despite the roadblocks, I want to follow THE PLAN. Wanting it is half the battle won, I think. Doing it is the other half, so let’s see how that goes.

Does it feel like I started something and ended somewhere else? I was going to write about my sleeping problems and I ended up writing about an insane “THE PLAN”.
Please don’t bother making sense out of this. This is a live example of my scattered thought process. I still don’t know why I’m writing as if I’m talking to you. It feels a lot more like I’m talking to myself. I must be going crazy… Hoodi Baba!

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