Thursday, August 02, 2012


Here’s the difference between 3:30AM and 9:30AM:

At that early hour, as you lay in bed staring at the ceiling, you can’t imagine how it will be humanly possible to get everything you need to get done in time for it to be done in time.

After you’d had your morning coffee, though, there’s really nothing to emptying the recycling bin and folding the clothes atop the washing machine; you’re finished up with plenty of room leftover for another cup of joe before your mid-morning nap, no problem.

All that worrying?  For naught.

And yet it seems so critical in the wee hours.

After more than half a century of such pre-dawn perturbations, I’ve found that, for me, the most effective way to put them to rest is to rise from bed, do some stomach exercises, read a bit, and once drowsy, climb back under the covers.  Often, however, I lie awake for some time before doing so, even though I’m aware that the intermission will be more effective in helping me return to sleep than simply staying where I am while my brain tries to kill me.

But that’s another difference between the and now: from the vantage point of daytime, it’s obvious that a 15 minute interlude from bed is worth it if it allows one to fall back asleep with relative alacrity.  In the middle of the night, by contrast, you can easily convince yourself that even if it takes hours to return to dreamland, that’s better than rising from the mattress.

No doubt there is some sort of evolutionary explanation for this phenomenon: our hunter-gatherer ancestors who were better at nighttime vigilance were more likely to pass down their DNA than those who slept soundly while mastodons and saber-toothed tigers prowled nearby.  I blame the cavemen, therefore, for any insomnia I might experience.

 Given that, it hardly seems worth worrying about.

Not now, anyway; it’s twelve o’ clock noon and all is well.


Blogger Deb's Lunch said...

Huh, I had one of those nights, too, where I woke up at 4:00 and just couldn't go back to sleep, too worried about all I had to do. My ploy is to go downstairs - leaving sleeping Mark, so I won't bother him - and tuck in on the couch with a cat or two. This time I was comfy, although awake, on the couch until about 5:00, then the birds started chirping in the driveway, so I went back upstairs and fell asleep deeply enough to have bad dream - my iPhone was covered in brown sludge, that when removed revealed a lumpy, papier mache-like front instead of the smooth glass, till I woke up 10 minutes before Mark's 7:00 alarm. Maybe the sleeplessness was afflicting all Shapiros.

4:36 PM  

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