Sunday, May 07, 2006

Making Time 

As I've mentioned here before, I am constitutionally nocturnal, a victim of Retarded Sleep Phase Syndrome, up long past midnight as a matter of course.

Once this was no problem. I did my best thesis writing between the hours of dark and sunrise; blogged late into the night, and made it to my classroom for the odd 8:30 class blurred but functional.

These days, however, what with commute and a seven thirty homeroom, my teaching mandates an early awakening. And I mean early. Like, before six.

End result: total suckage.

I've tried going to bed earlier as a matter of course (say, a civilized eleven fifteen) but for some reason, my brain and body seem to prefer to head to zombieville as the weekend nears. For a few weeks I managed to beat the odds by "accidentally" falling asleep putting the kids to bed at 8, which felt good as it happened. But this just as often caused me to rise in the wee hours of the morning afraid of missing the alarm, wander about for an hour, and end up overtired the next day.

I'm tired all the time, overcaffeinated and jittery when I should be alert. By Wednesday, I begin to arrive home with a shortened fuse, meandering about drunkenly without a drop to drink, napping on the couch when I should be enjoying those few precious kid hours between homecoming and bed. Thursdays I start nodding off on the drive home.

I'm starting to hate my life. Worse, I'm starting to sleepwalk through it.

So this week, in the interest of compromise, I've decided to start prepping for the morning ritual before bed. So far this evening I've ironed clothes for the week, hung 'em out for tomorrow, laid out wallet and pocket change by the door, and made sure the bathrobe and towel are handy. I even pre-filled the coffee pot.

Estimated net gain, at least by alarm clock standards: 20 minutes of extra sleep.

To be fair, twenty minutes doesn't sound like much. But I figure it's worth the same to the psyche as a serious midweek catch-up nap. At least, I hope so. Because this braindead-by-Thursday thing is seriously starting to kick my ass.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:14 PM |

Knowing how hard it was for you to cool the turkey with your smoking, I hesitate to mention it...

Your caffeine intake >must< be affecting your sleep cycle. We who know you know that (to paraphrase a Friends episode) your coffee cup might as well have a nipple! :)

To the extent that this remaining vice could be curbed without driving you back to nicotene, you'll find that your body is better able to return to the natural sleep cycle that has been a few hundred million years in the making.

Stop drinking coffee at 10am. Go to bed at 10pm and stay there. Read a book if you need to. Read it until sunrise if you can't sleep. Do this everyday and eventually your body will adapt and you will rejoin the well-slept.

The Preacher
Do a search on "sleep hygiene" and you will find the results of a lot of research on sleep. You won't like it, though. :-)
i have about your sleep cycle, but i found i could adapt quite well to 6am rising 2 ways:
1/ there seems to be a magic part of the cycle a bit after 10pm where the body will switch off. 10:10/22:22. if i can time the brief drowsiness with being in bed: pow, instant sleep
2/ i still need 10-15 quiet minutes in the morning over a cup of tea and something to read.

then just short sharp NASTYstrong coffee when i get to work and i'm laughing.
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