Monday, November 4, 2013

Trying to Squeeze More From the Day


So we have just observed the annual practice of rolling our clocks back by one hour ... which gave us one "extra" hour this weekend.  I got one more hour of sleep before heading off to work on Sunday, but the price has been that the evenings are now terribly, terribly, dark all of a sudden.

And I have read more than one article this week that advocated that folks not adjust their sleep schedules, but instead stick to their previous rising times and get up an hour earlier than was their previous habit.  This, say authors such as happiness guru Gretchen Rubin, will give you "an extra hour a day".  Recommended uses for this hour include exercise, spiritual practice, working on a project, or just having an hour to yourself.

But, trick is, you then have to go to bed earlier.  Because we also know that sleep deprivation is not a good thing.  It's like Benjamin Franklin said - early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.  I do observe in my own life that mornings tend to be used more productively, and evenings are often frittered away on leisure, socializing, and "vegging out".

Back in the summer I wholeheartedly agreed that getting up early was the only way to go.  Now, perhaps just to be a contrarian (or because of seasonal affective disorder, take your pick), I find myself resisting this notion.  Right now, I don't want to squeeze another hour from the day.  I just want to go with the flow.  I want to wake up with the sun, and be winding down with the sun.  Dawn to dusk may sound impressive, but unfortunately that is now only 7am to 5pm in these parts.  And it will get worse.  But I just don't feel like being productive in the dark.

I still have plenty to do.  I don't know when I will do it all.  But, I'm going to sleep when my body seems to want to sleep.  There is no such thing as an "extra" hour.

p.s. Am I the only one that thinks that "seasonal affective disorder" is a weird name for a disorder?  Like we somehow shouldn't be affected by the seasons, even though it would be the natural course of evolution for living creatures to be affected by the seasonal shifts and to alter their behavior accordingly?  It's like "shift-worker syndrome" ... implying that somehow the problem of doing something totally unnatural to your body is a "syndrome" that should be treated by medication.  I don't know ... all symptoms of modern life I guess.  Modern Life Syndrome/Disorder.

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