I’ve always been at odds with sleep. Starting around adolescence, morning became a special form of hell. Long school commutes meant rising in 6am darkness, then huddling miserably near the bathroom heating vent as I struggled to wrest myself from near-paralysis. The sight of eggs turned my not-yet-wakened stomach, so I scuttled off without breakfast. In fourth grade, my mother noticed that instead of playing outside after school with the other kids, I lay zonked in front of the TV, dozing until dinner. “Lethargy of unknown cause,” pronounced the doctor.
High school trigonometry commenced at 7:50am. I flunked, stupefied with sleepiness. Only when college allowed me to schedule courses in the afternoon did the joy of education return. My decision to opt for grad school was partly traceable to a horror of returning to the treadmill of too little sleep and exhaustion, which a 9-to-5 job would surely bring.