Monday, August 18, 2008

Sleep experiment

I've always had trouble readjusting to my sleep schedule at the beginning of the school year. During the school year, I get up regularly at 6:30 and go to bed sometime around 10:30-11:00 (I'm a firm believer in the 8 hours of sleep maxim). Once I'm on that schedule, I don't have much difficulty maintaining it, but when summer (or any extended break, really) rolls around, I quickly change my pattern to much later times. Most of this summer, I've been going to bed sometime between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. and getting up around noon, give or take an hour or so. Next week, all that changes.

In the past I've attempted to gradually get up earlier, say an hour each day, until I get to that 6:30 mark. It doesn't work very well for me; I'm tired throughout the day, and still don't want to go to bed early. One year I tried extending that my doing an hour two days at a time; i.e., getting up at 11:00 for two days, then 10:00 for two days, etc. That didn't work well either. A couple of years ago I read somewhere that a better way to adjust a sleep schedule like mine was to get up later each day (in increments of three hours) rather than earlier, until the desired time was reached. This year I decided to try that. Which means that for the first "night," I'm staying up until 6:00 a.m., then planning to sleep until around 3:00 p.m., then staying up until 9:00 a.m. the next day, and so on. In just under a week, I should hit the mark I'm aiming for, if this works. Someone suggested that I record how this works, so I'm doing that here. It's just before 4:00 a.m. as I write this, and I'm surprisingly tired, but I'm planning on staying up another two hours.

I'm not doing anything too different with my time. I've read some comics tonight, watched a couple of things on DVD. Around midnight, I walked over to the post office to drop off some outgoing mail. Late night walks in Fairmont, which tend to be frequent in the summer, are interesting. It's more than a ghost town. (Fairmont is a town where the sidewalks get rolled up by 9:00 p.m. normally.) There's no one else out, no traffic to speak of, and other than a few lights in houses here and there, no real sign of any life. I feel like I've stumbled into a deserted town in a zombie movie; I keep expecting a horde of them to shamble around the next corner. Thankfully, that hasn't happened yet.


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