November 01, 2023

Through the Lens - Issue 27

Through the lens for amirisu by Masako Nakagawa

Through the lens for amirisu by Masako Nakagawa

“Sleep quality” is a phrase I’ve been seeing a lot lately. The importance of sleep is not a new concept, it’s been talked about for a long time. Whenever I tried to stay up late, my mother would always tell me to hurry up and go to bed, but she never said anything about the quality of my sleep. I was a carefree kid and took for granted that I would sleep soundly until morning. Even when I was scared witless by a ghost story, I would be asleep before I knew it.

I’m a pretty good sleeper as an adult, too. Sometimes my family is surprised by how deeply I sleep after a hard day at work. That said, a few times a month I am a total failure at sleeping. It happens when two conditions well-known for interfering with good sleep coincide: caffeine intake and exposure to blue light. I get such a buzz of energy that sleep completely evades me. This just so happens to be one of those nights I carelessly, foolishly bring sleeplessness upon myself. 

Before heading to bed, I decide to reply to one more message. I just need to share a quick idea with the team. Another idea comes to me and I add it on, too. This one sounds particularly fun, and I immediately start researching and working on the details. I make a pot of fragrant tea, a souvenir from my sister-in-law’s visit to Taiwan, and drink it, refilling the pot a few times.

An hour passes. I’m still on the computer, my mind racing from one idea to the next. We’ll need to hurry up to get this or that ready. I need to reschedule a few things. I pull up my calendar and begin to analyze the options when it hits me.

Oh no! I’m not sleepy at all.

I rush off my computer. I do a series of full body stretches and try dabbing some CBD oil under my tongue, hoping the calming properties will help. Finally in bed, I pull the covers up and close my eyes. All those ideas flicker across my eyelids like a slide show. Each one in vivid contrasts and vibrant colors. Oh look, there’s a new one now. I’m wide awake. I've done it again. I shouldn't have opened my computer at that hour. And why didn't I remember that Taiwanese tea contains caffeine just like coffee?

After two hours, I give up and get out of bed. Sleepiness is so far away that I can hardly see it now.

The world outside turns a pale orange with the arrival of morning, and I pray to the clouds that I’ll make it safely through the day. Will I remember this lesson the next time I am flooded with ideas at night? I never want to forget it again. I’ve got to get some sleep.

                  – Masako Nakagawa