Method actors do some crazy stuff to land roles. Christian Bale lost 62 pounds for his part in “The Machinist,” maintaining a diet of coffee and apples for months on end. Leonardo DiCaprio once slept inside a horse carcass while filming “The Revenant.”
This week, I’ve gotten a maximum of three hours of sleep every night. I, however, am not a method actor. I am simply developing a greater tolerance to life.
My experience in sleep deprivation has given me insight as to what method actors go through, though. I certainly don’t feel like myself. I have mood swings, loud noises bother me and I drink five cups of coffee at the minimum per day. Okay, maybe those are bad examples considering that’s just how I am. But regardless, I feel weird.
Let’s take a closer look at my nightly routine: beginning at approximately 11 p.m., procrastinate. Watch the episodes of “The Crown” where you see Matt Smith’s butt. Buzzfeed quizzes. Remember something embarrassing that happened eight years ago. Go to the gym. Reread articles I wrote for The Observer. Gloat. Take a shower. Have an existential crisis. Watch a documentary about Soviet prisons. Cry that I have to be awake in an hour.
I think it’s normal to have an ebb and flow of sleeplessness, but in the past few weeks, this has turned into my lifestyle, and I can’t seem to break it. I probably have this wrong, but there are stages or something in the sleep cycle, right? The first stage, I believe, is when your eyes flutter and if something falls off your bulletin board and onto your leg you think you were just struck by a semitractor-trailer.
You thought I was going to say that’s the only stage I get to during the course of the night, but in actuality, that’s how it feels when I’m awake. Right now, as I’m downing my seventh cup of coffee, I can hear someone typing nearby and it sounds like the Space Shuttle Enterprise is taking off under a giant cup. My feet are hot, and my face is tingly, while my sense of sight feels like it’s where my sense of touch should be.
My inability to sleep is apparently posing a concern to my friends and family, but I’m telling you all right now that it shouldn’t.
Think of it this way: I’m developing survival mechanisms that many humans would otherwise crumble under. Instead of putting myself in a dunk tank with sharks to become “tough as nails,” I’m merely watching the sun and moon rise and fall from the comfort of my couch all while learning to use muscle reflexes I didn’t even know I was capable of applying.
Who else can say they’ve committed to learning and mastering this craft of self-inflicted abuse? As I look down upon my peers from an imaginary throne, I am honored to be among the likes of Bale and DiCaprio.