For years I have functioned on very little sleep compared to the amount most people I know get. Going sleepless started in college with long nights of study and then continued as I moved into teaching with late nights grading. As my interests have grown, the late nights and early
mornings provide the best time for me to do my non-work related activities.
Lately, though, I have been waking up far earlier than I conditioned myself to do over the years. Instead of waking up between four and five, for the last few weeks I have been waking up at three - wide awake, brain in drive. When I wake up that fully, I get up. Sleep will not return, so I might as well make use of the time and get up.
The brain often uses dreams to resolve problems that have been unsolved in the day. I have had experiences since high school when I have awakened at the end of a dream and recalled the dream as it answered some question from the day. My 3:00 AM wake-ups have followed the pattern. When I wake up, I have answers to questions I pondered over the last few days. As long as I am waking up with good answers I do not really mind having the extra hours added to my day.
What I do mind about the extra hours in the day is the exhaustion that hits me mid-afternoon. From the time I first learned of the siesta, I have always wanted to live somewhere that took a siesta daily. A good friend of mine does research into circadian rhythms, the natural cycles that govern our body’s waking and sleeping periods. I do not need research. Let me take a nap about 1:30 in the afternoon and I am fine until midnight.
Work schedules do not work that way. We do not have nap time at high school and I am not about to nap while the kids are up and about. Over the years I have learned to manage my way through the afternoon doldrums, but I do avoid as much detail work during the early afternoon hours as possible.
Eventually though, I am going to find my siesta-loving job.