Letter 55

January 28, 2021

On sleep

I remember being a teenager and staying up until 4 a.m. on Tumblr for no good reason, or pulling all-nighters to finish writing essays—I could never do that now. Now, I can’t function on less than eight hours of sleep. Now, I like having a bedtime and sticking to it. My body has found a rhythm it likes: I get sleepy around midnight, I wake up at 8:00 a.m., and I hit snooze a few too many times until I finally drag myself out of bed to make tea. Consistency and routine is important to me in most things, and sleep is no exception. That said, I’m getting better at letting myself break out of that routine, sometimes staying up a couple extra hours to laugh at stuff online with my friends, just because I can and it makes me feel good. Yes, I’ll be extra tired in the morning. But that’s a problem for future me.


When I was a kid, I would wake up at the odd hours of the night, turn on all of the lights in my room, and just resume playing with my toys. Sometimes I would make enough noise for my parents to come check on me, bleary-eyed and confused at my utter lack of nighttime decorum. They’d gently tell me to go back to sleep, turn off the lights, and leave. I can’t remember how long it would take to fall asleep again. I feel like I go from the extreme ends of sleep—either I am napping during the day, getting ready for bed by 10 and struggling to rise at 9, or I’m awake until 2 and eyes-open at 4:30. Between all of those extremes is the constant in which it is difficult to simply fall asleep. I’ve tried many things: putting my phone in a different room, melatonin, chamomile, reading before bed, hot baths, exercising, meditation: my body is REALLY awake or it’s ABSOLUTELY asleep and unfortunately I am not the boss of that. One day I’ll have a healthier relationship to sleep. I know what 4AM sounds like for no good reasons.


We recommend

📖 Shahr-E-Jaanaan: The City of the Beloved by Adeeba Shahid Talukder

This book feels bigger than I fully understand. This collection seeks to re-create Urdu classical poetry tradition. Every spread is STUNNING, there are so many magical moments at the sentence level, at the formal level—I read it in two sittings, but I’ll definitely be re-reading it over and over again at a slower pace. I want essays! I want annotations! I want to know everything about these poems! Get your copy from Bookshop or a local indie!


📱 Opal

I’ve been following this app for a while, so when it finally launched this week I downloaded it immediately. Basically, it’s a more-fun version of iOS Screen Time—you can block certain apps for small chunks of time while you work, set up schedules to block apps at the same time every day, or just keep it running all the time and take 10 minute breaks to check Twitter as needed. I’m enjoying it a lot already, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they add in future updates. (Also: you do have to pay for premium features, but students and academics can apply for a discount.)


🎶 Lorde

You all know and love her! She’s coming out with a ridiculous photobook soon that I absolutely pre-ordered the second I saw it was available! Whenever I start having “oh my GOD I’m a college graduate who is working full time and also we’re in a global pandemic and also I don’t know if I spent my time so far wisely and I know I’m not old and there’s so much life after your twenties but what if I’m afraid of living fully forever” I just turn on Pure Heroine and jump to Melodrama after and then let it all shuffle and blend together. They don’t quite hit for the crisis I’m in, but what I do know is the next album will, and that’s all I need to calm down, just a little bit. Lorde will always get me! Stream her literally everywhere.


📱 Virtual Cottage

I came across this desktop app months ago and thought it looked so cozy and nice, but I couldn’t use it on my Mac—then last week I clicked on it again and saw they added a Mac version! And I was right, it is very cozy and nice. I like to keep it open all day and listen to the rain and lofi music while I work.