Fell asleep while it was still light out, woke up while it was still light out: You are an effortlessly perfect person. You do things like read in magazines that it’s optimally healthy to drink a small cup of coffee right before taking a fifteen-minute nap, decide to start doing this, and then actually start doing this. There is nothing more comforting than falling asleep while the world hums busily around you and waking up to find things in the same state. You haven’t missed anything. Life is ready to embrace you back into itself. Between the application of your will and reality there is no barrier. What you want to do, you do. No despair.
Fell asleep while it was still light out, woke up after dark: Your body is mocking the natural order of things. The world turned itself off while you were sleeping, and you missed it. Everyone has forgotten you. You missed your last stab at seeing daylight, and every day is finite, and your life is never going to get any longer than it is right now. Enormous despair.
Fell asleep while it was dark out, woke up when it was still dark out: Something is very wrong. You are almost certainly hungover or ill. The sun has hidden her face from you. Time is no longer particularly meaningful, or never was, although there is still a chance you can cobble together a solid night’s sleep out of this. Moderate despair.
Fell asleep while it was dark out, woke up when it was light out: This sounds like a regular night’s sleep, but isn’t. This is the kind of nap that happens after you spend all night jolting awake with a heart that moves too quickly for its body. It’s an obscene parody of the order of true sleep. You wake up dizzy and ashen-brained, and you know there’s no way you’re going to make it through the entire day without another nap, which means that come the night, you’re not going to get a regular eight hours’ sleep, which means you’ll be passing in and out of consciousness in fits and starts for the foreseeable future, clutching at a circadian rhythm that constantly escapes your grasp. Maximimum despair.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.