To Sleep...

Sleep is one of those things no one really seems to know much about. From what I've read, there is no consensus on the purpose of sleep. There also seems to be no agreement on how much a body needs. Traditionally it's eight hours, but some say that's too much. Thomas Edison got by on four hours plus a few catnaps. Others consider eight hours the minimum, preferring nine to twelve hours.

Recent reports in the newspaper say that studies indicate that teenagers need at least eight hours of sleep. These reports are part of a few that indicate, directly or indirectly , that when you sleep can be as important as how much sleep you get. It seems that teens would do better with more sleep in the morning.

That's a time frame I can relate to. Not long ago I read that scientists have found a physiological reason for the difference between night people and morning people. Apparently, morning people wake up with adrenalin in their systems and it wanes as the day goes on. Night people's adrenolin peaks later in the day and is still relatively high at night -- well after a morning person's is long gone.

Left eitirely to my body's need, without regard to clocks, I can get by on seven or eight hours, if they fall somewhere between one a.m. and ten a.m. Two a.m. is about my limit for staying up and eight a.m. the limit for getting up. If I get up before eight, I tend to drag through the day, until about bedtime! My spouse is happiest sleeping from ten p.m. ro five or six a.m. since his transfer to a job that requires a long commute, he has learned how I felt all those years getting up at seven. He now gets up at four a.m. --only one hour earlier for him, but what a difference! And he hasn't even lost one of his best sleeping hours. Morning people tend to sleep best in the first hours of sleep. Night people, during the final hours. This evidently has to do with the amount of adrenolin in our systems.

Sigh! I'd be relatively happy with seven a.m. now. Our high school hasn't yet (One can hope!) taken the studies seriously and I must get up at six to see my freshman (also a night owl) to the bus stop by seven. Delighted is not what you'd call us as we get up 'in the middle of the night'. All he want's is a cup of tea or coffee and his bed. I just want my bed! Finally, by the end of September, he had reached a functional state. Most school nights he's in bed by ten. It's precarious, but it gets him through the school day.

Alas! I can't say I'm doing as well. I rarely get to bed before midnight. If I sleep in or take a good nap, I'm wide awake at night. If I force myself to go throught the day in a zombie-like state, I'm tired, but still awake. Over all it's a difficult situation, but it isn't without some benefit. Except late at night, I can fall asleep at will. And asleep, my creativity abounds!

1998 by F.S. Junaid

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