Wide awake with sleep on the horizon
If you’ve spent more night hours awake than asleep - and you weren’t working/at a party/or otherwise awake on purpose - then you probably know and hate the feeling of the intangibility of sleep; when’s just out of reach of your waking brain. I like it because it means sleep will be possible sometime soon and find it irritating because ‘sometime soon’ could still be an hour or more away.
That period when the brain starts to rest can also be compared to an open door for creative ideas. Some of which may produce a decent story idea, poem or article topic. Others seem brilliant at the time, but when you read them (presuming you were able to jot down the ideas) you realise they’re pretty awful. The worst is when you know the idea is amazing, but you forget before you can get to writing material, or you actually (finally) fall asleep and by morning its gone.
If you haven’t experienced the ‘wide awake with sleep on the horizon’ feeling, it goes like this:
Me: rational thought - In the morning, I’ll go for a walk.
Interrupted by also me: bunch of Dutch carrots
Me: rational thought - Tomorrow, I’m going to do x, y, z.
Also me: sinking into the sand.
Me: rational thought - That was a great story/tv show/soundtrack.
Also me: tsunami heading straight for me, oh there’s someone on the beach, I’ll go warn them, wall of wave looming over me, person on beach vanished…
The difference between the two thoughts is that the “rational thought” is me going through my to do list or remembering something, or trying to think of something other than everything else whizzing around my head so I can go to sleep. The irrational thought is usually completely visual. I don’t think “bunch of Dutch carrots” I see them. I don’t think “sinking into the sand”. I feel the sand on my feet, ankles, calves. I see the sand around me. I don’t think “tsunami” I see the massive wall of water, feel the dampness on my skin. Sometimes I may even hear the roar of water (or whatever the massive thing is. I don’t half-dream tsunamis that often).
If I’m lucky, I’ll go on to deep sleep and a full-blooded dream. Mostly I wake up, think things through over and over - why did I do that? I should have done this? The water is so blue. Maybe other people are on the beach. Perhaps those Dutch carrots should be drizzled with honey…
I tend to over-think a lot of things.
If I’m really really lucky, I’ll jot down the gist of the half-dream and turn it into a short story or article (like this one), or use it as a scene in a longer piece. If I get to this stage, then I consider loss of sleep worth it.