The First Five Hours

Five and a half, really, but five sounded better for a title.

My alarm sounded at 1:30 AM. An hour and a half wasn’t enough sleep, that was obvious, but I figured I would do better with at least a little sleep. On Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week I woke up at 4 AM, hoping it would prepare me for today. Perhaps it did, but not enough. I reset my alarm for 1:40. When that went off I reset it to 1:50, and 10 minutes later to 2:00. That was it, I had slept as much as I was able. Now was the moment.

I knew that if I sat down on the couch I would be tempted to lay down, then to get a blanket, eventually leading to the demise of my plan to read for 24 hours straight. Several times this week, however, I stayed awake at 4 AM by listening to audiobooks (Ender’s Shadow and then Mistborn: The Final Empire). I even laid on the couch while listening. The books were interesting enough to keep me awake, despite wanting, desperately, to sleep. I knew that it would be harder with less sleep. But knowledge does not always translate into action. Can you really know if you don’t do what you know?

If you didn’t catch the hint already, I fell asleep. I think I lasted about 20 minutes on the couch before I drifted off. I was awakened at 4 AM by my roommate’s return from a dance and made a half-hearted attempt to stay awake, but once again drifted off into the world of make-believe, or rather, a world of make-believe, for there are many. Sleep is one such world, reading is another. I find it fitting that at least I was in one of these worlds instead of, say, scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush, though that might have kept me awake.

It’s now almost 9 AM. Since awaking on the couch I’ve been listening to Mistborn. I will now commence reading a real book, perhaps The Alchemist? I’m not sure after that. The Power of Less? Lord of the Rings? A Narnia book in Spanish? High Performance MySQL? No, most definitely not that.

I will read until 2 AM, longer if I can. I’ll be posting updates on here and twitter throughout the day.

Books, Reading, Sleep


  1. Gavin Oops, oh well. Read longer, stay up later! Good luck.
  2. justin hileman

    I just had seven hours of sweet, sweet sleep :)

    Good luck with the rest of your 24.

  3. Ryan Thanks! 1 book down, hopefully many more to go.
  4. christina

    Don’t you just hate it when you fall back asleep on the couch? That tends to happen to me on my Saturdays if I’ve gotten up too early thinking it was a work day.

    You’re doing awesome.

    Happy reading!