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Waking up is hard to do

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Haven't had much sleep lately—usually about five hours a night, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less.

Last night, I went to bed earlier than usual, but woke up five hours later.

Stayed awake for a while, but after deciding I was awake for the day, started to get sleepy again. So I put on music that often helps me go to sleep, on infinite loop on my iPhone, and drifted off. (I originally got that music on a cassette tape in high school; a few years ago, I found it on CD and transferred it to my computer.)

And I spent the next two hours in the following pattern:

  1. Wake up.
  2. Get up and start my day, including turning off the cassette tape of helping-me-sleep music that I was listening to.
  3. Realize that something was weird. (See below for examples.)
  4. Wake up again, and repeat the cycle.

The weird things were things like: realizing I was in an unfamiliar house; realizing it was an unfamiliar tape deck; realizing my computer was one I'd never seen before; leaning down to kiss someone and discovering that although they were clearly visible and we were having a conversation, they weren't tangible (that was really freaky).

In various of the sequences, there was also a bunch of stuff about my father, in various variations, including his still being alive. I think in a couple of them I ended up having arguments with him on the phone.

In the last cycle, I woke up to the sound of a friend's voice from outside the open front door of the house calling me, semi-urgently, to bring my ID. I struggled awake, stood up, and realized that maybe one reason I'd been having such weird dreams was that I had gotten all tangled in a bunch of clothing while I slept; I had even somehow managed to end up wearing a skirt (which I think was one of Mary Anne's dresses). I looked at my tape deck, thought it didn't look quite right, but reassured myself that it really was my tape deck and I really was awake and this really was the real world. Turned off the music—and then woke up.

So now I'm awake in my entirely familiar room, with my entirely familiar iPhone that was playing music, in the same clothes I went to bed in, typing on my entirely familiar computer. I'm pretty sure this one isn't a dream, but that's what I thought about at least a couple of the ones that turned out to be.

I've had other dream-within-a-dream nested "and then I woke up" experiences, but I don't think it's ever been nested more than about three levels deep before. This time was at least five or six, and maybe more like ten or fifteen.

The music is a 20-minute-long piece; I kind of wonder whether each segment was twenty minutes. But I gather that dreams tend to be much shorter in real time than in subjective time.

Anyway, I imagine that a couple of hours of dreaming was good for me, given recent sleep debt, but it would've been nicer if the dreams had been less unsettling.

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