God's Word for today

Sunday, 17 July 2011

My body's in another time zone - and academics are to blame!

Most people engaged in academic pursuits will at some time or other utter the lament, "if it wasn't for the annoying need to sleep ...", usually because of a sense that the workload exceeds the number of waking hours available. Over the years I have been studying as well as during my corporate career, I have been no stranger to the term "pulling an all-nighter" in the quest to meet some or other deadline or to get an assigment submitted on time.

Trouble is, one's body can only cope with so many nights of three hours of sleep before it shuts down in violent protest, and I have tried to find creative ways in which to overcome the sleep deprivation.  This is no easy task for someone who needs (on average) about 7 hours of sleep per night, and as last semester drew to a close I decided that since pushing late hours was becoming a futile attempt in shoving an indeterminable amount of knowledge into an increasingly recalcitrant brain, getting to bed early and waking up before sunrise seemed like a good idea.

And it worked like a bomb!  Trouble is, now that the pressure of being in final year BTh is over, I cannot get my body clock to readjust itself.  The upshot is that for the past three weeks I have been passing out on my bed sometime between 7 and 8 pm, and waking up anytime from 2 am onwards.

Busy people often respond to the request to add yet another task to one's overloaded schedule by glibly replying, "sure - after all, I'm not currently busy between 2 and 4 in the morning".  Except in my case, these are beginning to emerge as viable hours of availability!

The problem is not insomnia - I'm getting sufficient sleep, even if each night's quota is taken in two instalments (I invariably wake up after about four hours, read for a bit, then crash for a further three).  Also, it's not as though I'm waking up fatigued, either.  This morning I was up at 2:15, fresh as a daisy, and decided that the sensible thing was to get up and have the "3 Esses" (shower, shave, and ... oh, come on, you all KNOW what the other S stands for!).  I've also managed to put together the bare bones of a sermon I'll be preaching this coming Thursday, and even sent a couple of e-mails - all in the blissful silence of a sleeping household, long before sunrise.

The thing is, though, my current sleep / wake cycle is not something most people would regard as "normal".  Not that this is causing any problems as such - my wife has always been an "early to bed" person, so it's not as though I'm crashing out four hours before she does.  It hasn't negatively impacted the physical side of our relationship in any way.  I am awake and available during the "core hours" demanded by family, seminary, and life in general.  So is this something I should be concerned about?  Should I seek professional help?  Or should I simply adapt myself to this somewhat unorthodox sleep pattern and accept what have become three of the most productive hours of my day (between 4 and 7 am) as a gift from God?

No comments: