Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Purely for Your Amusement Series: The Land of Nod

I know that I have mentioned my early morning allergy and my late night habits before, but tonight I'm going to elaborate a bit...for your amusement, of course.

Before I begin, I would like to mention that I am currently sipping a cuppa mocha brew of my own invention. I dissolved a packet of hot cocoa mix (which promised "Warm Chocolatey Memories") into a cup of medium roast coffee, which, by the way, was a total repudiation of the directions which expressly instructed me to dissolve the mix into hot water. I then added a splash of milk and instantly, a masterpiece was born (well, I did have to zap it in the microwave before it was masterpiece material.)

Recently, I re-read the children's lullaby poem Wynken, Blynken and Nod. It is quite a lovely poem, though I don't quite understand what possessed them to sail on a river of Crystal Light. I hope it was the Blueberry Raspberry flavor so it at least vaguely looked like water.

KIDDING. I think the caffeine/cocoa combination might actually be having a slight effect on me. Who knew?

Though certain changes in my life - like starting to run in the morning and having to go places before 10am - have forced me to pretend I can function in the morning, nothing has really changed. I go through stages when I suddenly decide to go to bed at a reasonable time...but unless I'm dead on my feet, something like this always happens:

It's discouraging. As time goes on, my notion of a "reasonable" bedtime has become later and later. I subconsciously count how many hours of sleep I will end up getting as I glance casually at the clock. I have become a professional at convincing myself that 5 hours of sleep is a copious number and that sleeping is really such a waste of valuable time. Why sleep when you can be writing, reading, or imagining in the velvety darkness of the wee hours of the morning?

The strange thing is, I feel most awake on the days after I get less than 6 hours of sleep. I pop out of bed with wide-open eyes, ready to face the world and everyone in it:

Last year, I became interested in the phenomenon of alternative sleep schedules. I even wrote a 600-word article on it. It was called Prisoners in The Land of Nod (alluding, of course, to all the precious time we waste sleeping.) Basically, there are four major alternative sleep schedules, which operate on the notion that REM (Rapid Eye Movement) is the most important stage of a normal sleep cycle, providing the most benefits to the brain. In these alternative sleep schedules, your brain is tricked into entering REM sleep immediately without wasting all the time that normal sleep patterns take to reach that cycle (70-90 minutes.) As an example, the Uberman Cycle consists of taking 20-30 minute naps every 4 hours (6 naps a day.) Apparently, this cycle is highly efficient and results in feeling very alert and refreshed. People using this cycle often report having unusually vivid dreams.

At first, I was totally fascinated and determined to experiment with one of the cycles. I became slightly disillusioned after I realized that it would basically require a complete change of lifestyle. I mean, what do you do when you're at a party or the coffee shop and it's time for a nap? "Excuse me, I'm extremely interested in what you're saying but I need to go to sleep immediately."

I still may try one of the other (less extreme) cycles sometime, as an adventure. If I do, I will keep you posted on the results.

Cheerio, early birds and night owls (I love you all.)

Love, Celia

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