Shuffling the hours
Sept. 29, 2017
by Ivan Raconteur

If I ran the zoo, I would like to shuffle the hours of my day to more closely match the rest of the world.

Out of a 24-hour day, I am awake some hours and asleep some hours, but not necessarily at the most convenient times.

For example, no matter how long or busy my day has been, and no matter what time I retire for the night, I often seem to find myself wide awake between about 2:30 and 4:30 a.m.

I used to fight this, and tried unsuccessfully to get back to sleep, but this proved to be a frustrating and futile undertaking.

Now, instead of fighting it, I use the time to get things done.

I do a lot of writing in the middle of the night. The good thing about this is that it provides a nice block of uninterrupted time to work, which is difficult to find during the day.

Unfortunately, about the time my over-active brain is ready to sleep, it is time to get ready and go to the office.

That is usually about the time I feel like I could sleep for a week, but my schedule does not permit that.

In contrast to this, I am not much of an afternoon person.

I have to keep moving or face the risk of falling asleep at my desk in the afternoons.

I would love to be able to take a nice nap in the afternoons. This would really set me up for the rest of the day.

The cultures that embrace a universal afternoon siesta period are on the right track.

Sometimes, even a bracing beaker of coffee is not enough to wake me up in the afternoons.

A brisk bit of exercise, such as walking at a fast pace around the office, does seem to help, and I should probably get up and move more anyway.

After a long day in the office, I am often called upon to cover a public meeting.

This isn’t bad if the discussion is kept moving.

However, if things get bogged down in circular conversations or minute details, it can be tough to stay alert.

The kiss of death is being forced to listen to a long audit report filled with mandatory disclosures that don’t change from city to city or year to year.

If the room is warm on top of that, it makes staying awake a challenge.

If I could just shuffle things around so my high-energy periods in the middle of the night coincided with the times I am required to be awake, things would run much more smoothly, and I would be much less sleep deprived by the end of each week.

I think the balance between sleep and active hours is OK, they just don’t come at the right times.

Fortunately, I am often able to take a blissful nap Sunday afternoons – some planned, some not – and this helps to recharge the system.

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