Waking Bad

You can’t expect me to like Mondays, rain, snow, and mornings, right?! So I confess: I do like Mondays, rainy days, snowy days, but I do not like mornings.

It’s not the mornings themselves, but the fact that I am a night person, and have a hard time forcing myself to go to bed, and an equally hard time falling asleep, and then always–without exception–wake up in the middle of the night for an extended period of time at least once. Are you with me? This condition has persisted since I was a small child. Some lucky people sleep soundly and steadily. Such nights are few for me. Sleeping late was never a problem in my teens or twenties, but it is now, and our neighborhood is very noisy, especially in the mornings. Yes, kids, it is all downhill from here!

Too bad I get that extra burst of energy right when I should be going to bed. And despite all this staying up late, I have never seen the highly acclaimed, or at least highly entertaining series, Breaking Bad.

The purchase of a new mattress–now starting to do the research–would probably be somewhat helpful, since the mattress is old, lumpy, and the box springs jiggly. This is not an exciting purchase, and I keep putting it off. I imagine that I would prefer a good old-fashioned cotton bed that is soft and doesn’t jiggle. (No metal box springs.) Does such a thing exist? Possibly hand made from an artisan in Vermont?

Yes, I have ear plugs. With planes constantly zipping overhead (from a small local airport) they are a must. I will not further embarrass myself by describing the ridiculous lengths to which I go in hopes of sleep. Just a little more, another half an hour? If I didn’t need the sleep to function and feel well, I wouldn’t care. Today I don’t have what a fellow WordPress blogger and fiction writer refers to as “brain fog.” She has much helpful advice and describes extraordinary coping mechanisms that may be helpful, whether of not you suffer from CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), so here is a link to her blog: http://liebjabberings.wordpress.com/category/cfs-living-and-writing-with-mecfscfids/ Instead, I have a burning sensation behind my eyes that won’t get better until it is once again dark outside, and I start to feel great!

One of my friends suggested that I work on a farm, and make a routine of getting up early and working outside all day long. What I especially love about that idea is being outside all day. I’m not convinced that I wouldn’t rather be skiing, or an explorer, or anthropologist, or pilgrim, or doing something a bit less monotonous than farming, but maybe my anxious and active mind would thrive on the monotony. The gardening of spring and summer really elevated my mood and kept me outdoors no matter what the weather. But gardening and farming though related, are not the same. One solid day of picking apples might suffice.

I do not have a TV in the bedroom. Never have. Never will. But…I do answer email far too late at night, and sometimes even do productive work at my laptop until quite late. I definitely spend more time at a screen than really suits my mind and body. Working late–when I tend to be productive, since there are fewer interruptions at night–would be great if I were able to sleep just a couple more hours in the morning. So when I see that “bossy old sun” begin to rise, I tend to greet it with misgiving and bleary eyes.

Any and all suggestions welcome, but I would especially like to hear from people who have always been night people, but have managed to change their habits.

Waking Bad by Circespeaks Waking Bad by Circespeaks

2 thoughts on “Waking Bad

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    Thanks for the plug!

    I recommend one thing which really helps: working at my desk each morning for a half-hour under a light therapy Daylight. By stimulating the pineal gland through the iris of the eye, you reset your Circadian clock to a preference for being awake earlier (same effect as working on a farm, but you can surf the web or do your morning writing). For me, since I’ve been doing this (and I start every year when the days start getting shorter and I find myself with SADD – again), I get sleepy (not just tired) much earlier.

    If you can’t afford to free-range (Dean Wesley Smith does, and he gets up at noon and has an extraordinarily productive writing life), then you are going to be exhausted all the time if you don’t lock in a more normal sleep schedule because you are always going to bed too late (that nice burst of last-minute energy), and have to get up too early FOR YOU. Exhaustion makes everything so much harder, and increases any natural tendencies to be depressed.

    I just turned my light off for this morning.

    The only problem is that I like to be up until two in case I catch one of the kids online for a quick chat (hard to give those up), but I was dragging through the next day, AND, more importantly for me, not getting my writing done. So I bit the bullet, worked hard to move my internal clock to a cycle which gets me up early enough to be awake for the whole light-day, and don’t go to bed feeling that I missed daylight (because I’d been asleep part of the time when natural daylight was available). It helps with mood not to live mostly in the dark.

  2. Circe Post author

    Thank you for the advice. Even though I have moved my work space out of the bright, east-facing kitchen with skylights into an office, I moved my laptop back onto the kitchen table for much of the morning. Is my understanding that daylight through windows provides almost the same benefit to setting circadian rhythms as does natural light somewhat correct? I know it is not quite the same: my eyes and brain can feel that. The ideal time to take a walk is supposedly upon awakening, but I don’t feel like it then! Especially not when it is 29F outside! So that’s what I am going to do now.
    I reluctantly had to stop answering late night emails and phone calls from the West Coast, and have even lost touch with some people who are only too happy to talk starting at around 11pm EST. My aim is to start unwinding at 10pm by being present in the here and now, and to work on that daylight schedule.Too bad the people out West, or even in the Mid-West, don’t want to hear from me when I am up way too early. It is not my most productive time, so it would be a great time to catch up with friends and family.


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