Circadian Rhythm & Blues
Itís Monday morning Ö not exactly early, but it feels like my limbs weigh twice their normal weight. I got a solid 8 hours of sleep last night, but Iíve felt more energized from 5 hours before. This happens almost every week. So whatís the deal??
Well, Iíve come to the conclusion that this case of the Mondays is completely normal bearing in mind that I bring it onto myself each week. What happens is that when Friday and Saturday night roll around I have a tendency to let myself go and stay up as late as I please, and then sleeping in till the following afternoon. For me, that is no earlier than 3 AM, generally between 3:30 and 5:00 AM. Donít ask me why. I remember that going to bed as a child always involved plenty of resistance. I always wanted to stay up later than my mother would allow me, so I suppose that now is my time to get even. I just find myself enjoying the night. Things seem more peaceful and serene, perhaps because the energy of people operating during the day has subsided. Not to mention that come 2 AM, cable television makes way for a smorgasbord (thank you spell-check) of informational shows touting new and innovative products such as a Cybernetic Turkey Baster which doubles up as a personal shaver.
Now I donít know if any of you have had the pleasure of watching any asian game shows on international t.v, (I suggest looking up Japanese game show on YouTube) but I must say that late night infomercials are about the closest American equivalent. By far my favorite character in this late night cast of the bizarre is Billy Mays. Iíve never seen anybody so enthused about cleaning stuff. If everybody were as clean as this guy, Iím sure that all disease in the world would perish. I must say that I donít blame him Ė Iím sure heís cleaning all the way to the bank! And Iím sure that he washes his piles of hundred dollar bills with a broad spectrum of cleaning products so that the excess money can double up as toilet paper. Another favorite of mine is Matthew Lesko, whose aptitude for getting free money from the government is second to none. I wonder if that actually worksÖ? Everybody just loves the idea of free money, and Iím sure in the governmentís case, they will give you $5,000.00 to fix your toilet in exchange for sending at least one of your offspring to the military.
But the only problem is that, without fail, my sleep schedule gets screwed up come Sunday night. I suppose that working from home full time greatly reduces the normal effect of this weekly disruption, and for that I am truly grateful. If Iím feeling too sluggish to interact with other people, I can simply choose to make myself unavailable. It was much more of a challenge back when I had to go into somebody elseís office and work with others face to face. Discussions became painful and I felt like a cranky child that just wanted to assume the fetal position and be rocked to sleep. I remember learning in biology that all of our brains have an internal clock per say, which regulates our eating, sleeping, and mood schedule every day called the Circadian Rhythm. This explains why after staying up later than usual and then sleeping in till 1 PM for 2 straight days my body does not want to acknowledge the world on Monday morning. This also accounts for the many individuals who want to take a nap after lunch or during the mid afternoon. I tell you, those Spanish have it right with their afternoon siestas. I remember learning that the bodyís natural clock actually slows down between 3 and 5 PM every day, and then picks up again in the early evening. In my case, I can be tired all day long, but come 10 PM a light bulb in my head turns on. So I suppose Iím just a night owl. My brain is like a diesel motor Ö it has a really slow start in the morning, but once I gain my daily momentum, it can function into late hours of the night. Come to think of it I should start trading stocks in the UK market, since Iíd be at my optimal performance at about 8 AM GMT.
There is a wealth of information out there about how to adjust the bodyís sleep schedule. Steve Pavlinaís article about How to Become an Early Riser brings up some great points. To summarize his philosophy, adjusting your sleep schedule actually involves regulating the time you get out of bed in the morning, not regulating the time you go to sleep at night. He states that by waking up at a fixed time every day, your body will naturally adjust itself to go to sleep earlier the following night if extra sleep is needed. Also, it is not beneficial to force yourself to go to sleep before you feel ready since that will probably result in insomnia, or a broken sleep. In those cases, I plead guilty to both counts of poor sleep habits. I actually wonder how much more productive I would be if I forced myself to get out of bed at the same time on Saturday and Sunday mornings as I do for the rest of the week. I will admit that it usually takes me until Wednesday to reach my full level of productivity, and then by Friday night Iím back to my nocturnal habits of infomercial watching and sleeping in. I suppose that my best option at this point is to start my own late night television show which involves me cleaning the neighborís toilet with my own miracle cleaner...