Thursday, May 8, 2008
So you think you can sleep?!
In our small household, an early bird lives with a night owl.
I am the early bird. I often turn off the clock alarm before it starts beeping, a good 10 minutes before it. My head is clear and well organized, I have the motivation and the energy to do any troubleshooting at work, I am full of ideas.
As it gets closer to the evening, I get more and more tired, my brain stalls, my ideas fade away. I tend to sit or lie down, and worst comes to worst when it gets dark. It’s as if my brain shuts down completely. I feel not very aware and smart, tending to sleep so much that I start yawning every now and then, and prefer not to do anything which has something to do with “thinking”! You can imagine how I suffer in winters when sometimes it gets dark around 4 pm here…My efficient hours during the day decreases considerably.
Then there is Mr. Alchemist. He is a night owl. When I go to work he is often still sleep, or forcing himself to get up. And by forcing I really mean it, using the shower and a couple cups of tea usually. In the evening when we are both home again, he is full of energy though. He sees the world brighter than it is, optimistic, full of ideas. He can stay up late, long hours into the night, until he forces himself to sleep, as he has to get up again the next morning.
The funniest scenes in our home happen in these two extremes: in the morning, or at night! One classic scenario is usually around 11 pm, when I feel the most stupid, my eyes are half open, yawning my lungs out, and begging myself to get up and brush before passing out. Right then, he is so energetic, walking up and down in the living room, talking science, ideas, analyzing the complex situations at work or in life. I hear half of his words, nodding and thinking to myself why I feel so ridiculously dumb!
Then, if for some reason we have to get up early together, it’s time for my revenge! While he is half conscious, half sleep, complaining about life and everything in it, I am singing a song, enjoying my breakfast (my favorite meal in the day) and laughing at him burning his tongue with the damn hot tea…
But the whole issue is bigger than this. He is neither lazy, nor undisciplined. He is just suffering from Delayed sleep-phase syndrome (DSPS). It’s as simple as the fact that he is right handed. There are even suggestions that it is associated with hPer3 (human period 3) gene, but no remedies. At least it’s known that it’s familial. The problem is that it’s as if he is constantly living with a jet-lag. No wonder when we go on a long trip, the actual jet-lag neutralizes his body’s jet-lag, and for few days his sleeping habit changes to normal. And then is being an “early bird” really normal and he is abnormal? His only fault is that unfairly, he is living in a 9-5 world. If there was such a world which would be run between 3 pm and 11 pm, everything would be so different for him. Maybe his whole fate would have been different.
In my opinion, this is again another unfairness in the world, maybe another bug, not a critical one though. The upside is that at least we can laugh at each other starting or ending the day…
Posted by Nava at 8:02 AM