Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sleep Phases

I saw something on the Discovery Channel the other day about a father and daughter with Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome, which causes them to have a natural sleep cycle starting around 7.30pm and ending around 3.30am. Up with the larks and all that. It got me thinking, there must be an opposite condition!

Though only 1% of the population are known to have ASPS, people with Delayed SPS, also known as night owls, comprise about 15%. I suspect I'm one of them, noticeably since university. Even in high school it was difficult to go to bed before midnight even though I had to wake up every morning at 5.30am. Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome can result in a bedtime anytime after midnight and anytime up to midday.

Here's my reasoning:

1) Bedtime has always been a struggle, although once I am out my sleep is undisturbed.

2) I am often frustrated that no matter what I do, I cannot get to bed before 1am, and I am then surprised that despite having shortened sleep hours the previous night, I can't go to bed any earlier the next night.

3) If left to my own devices, my natural bedtime is between 3 and 4am and my natural waking around midday.

4) Those with DSPS often suffer daytime sleepiness: Indeed, waking up early is a monumental undertaking and mornings are not good. I have mid-morning and mid-afternoon slumps, but only when forced into a normal societal sleep pattern. On my own schedule, I'm perky all day until I am ready to go to bed.

5) I am at my most creative late at night.

* Note I have more credible web sources than Wikipedia, but the wiki articles are a more detailed amalgamation of all the others.


So here's what I am thinking. Get a job with evening hours, like legal word processing. They give you a private car home at 1am...and they pay really well. The sacrifice is that they are very anti-social hours...granted, I don't go out that much so they're hours that normally go to waste, but that's because I'm not currently dating. What if I wanted to start that up again? (And I do.)

If I can get in, it seems a pretty safe bet to tuck myself away there in this economy, until I can find my dream gov job or dream creative role. We shall see. I have stopped beating myself up for expecting that at my age I should be in a managerial role by now. *sigh* Well, if I'd stuck to one thing since college then I probably would have. But never mind, what's done is done.


Just thought I'd throw this in there.
Greenwich Street between Downtown and the Financial District.


Anyway, I have a List.

The main thing on this List is:

1-- furniture for my little room such as a bedside table, a chest of drawers, and either a vanity or a desk (because other than my little closet, everything is still in suitcases or flowing therefrom).

It's taking a while for various reasons: cashflow is irregular when you have to depend on your father, and the fact that furniture that's not too wide or deep is hard to find - I have very exact spaces to fill. Antiques are often dainty enough and the right size as well as being as affordable from private sellers as new mass produced furniture. However, taking pieces home from private homes is tricky in this non-pickup-truck-driving state and using a delivery service often negates the Craigslist bargain. Plus, some antiques can smell pretty pungent. I'd prefer antique style new pieces for now. Target has some sweet handpainted furniture and I like their Mission line, however those pieces may be too large. Frustrating.

When I have my own independent, secure, established, and more than sufficient cashflow, I would like:

1 -- a bird. Either a canary or a society finch. I miss coming home to a little living thing that depends on me, responds to my voice and sings occasionally. There is a pet shop on the corner two blocks away by the subway, so I pass it every day. I always want to go in and ask, "May I hug the rabbits?" I went in last week and there was a very attractive canary in a cage by itself. (The cage was too small.)

2 -- an iPod Touch! (When they've worked the bugs out.) I like the idea of accessing music, video, games, and the internet without requiring phone service. This may be my first frivolous gadget in years...


Anonymous said...

What great use of your sleep patterns to work for you. Is that kind of job difficult to find? I think once I left my twenties, my bedtime got earlier and earlier. I think now, it's probably 11pm or so. Natural waking is 7:30am. Roomie got an iPod Touch when she bought her school computer so I've enjoyed playing with it (she's too busy). Got a speaker system to go with and now it's the new stereo. My dad loved playing with it. I told him if he can get his wi-fi to work properly at his house, I'd buy him one.

Um Naief said...

i love antiques. target does have some cute stuff, but then your faced w/ how to get it home.

living out of suitcases isn't fun.

legal work does pay well, that's a positive, and even w/ the economy the way it is, ppl losing jobs, there's always work in the legal field.

i went thru that phase of feeling like i should have a better job, and still do, at times, w/ being a stay-at-home mom.. feeling guilty on days, so i understand how you feel.

i usually don't go to bed until midnight, then fall asleep at 3 or 4, but it's something that i can't do w/ naief. the meditation has helped, so far. even w/ this said, there are days that i go to bed at 8:30 or 9, but it seems that i tend to wake up at 1, wide awake, and then can't get back to sleep. i'd really like to be like you ... going to sleep and feeling rested in the morning. if i don't get a good 8 hrs of sleep, i feel tired all day.

meimei said...

I love the touch

and yes I love working in mensware, I am not on my feet that much, I often sit down to fold masses of tshirts and stuff.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Speaking of weird sleep patterns, I remember reading about an experiment in which they had some test subjects live for a while (10 days? 2 weeks? A month? I don't recall at the moment...) in an underground chamber to see what would happen if human beings were totally cut off from the normal day/night cycle. Do you know what they found out?

Apparently the natural human "day" is 27 hours long, not 24. Weird. There's no explanation for it, either.

Where did we really come from?

Olivia said...

Ooh, I haven't replied to any of you yet.


Nikki - oh I wish I could wake up that early in my free time, think of all the early morning wonders I could see.

Right that's it, iPod Touch is staying on my List!


Um Naief - indeed, if I had a large home where my antiques could air out I'd surround myself with them - Mission, Arts & Crafts, Art Deco, etc.

But you know, on that item I posted, Target has free delivery. They do on LOADS of things! Love that!

At least with you worrying about a better job, I don't see it as so bad because you're accomplished on the family side, with a home, a hubby, and baby. I have nothing else to show other than my job, know what I mean?


Mich - you need to see the Japanese video about how to fold a t-shirt quickly! YouTube it.

Do any men ask your advice on what to buy?


Minstrel - yes, I've heard of that experiment. I would have suggested we're originally from Mars, except that planet's day is also 24 hrs long (nearly 24.5).

Guyana-Gyal said...

Go on, ask 'em if you can hug a rabbit, you never know.

I'm a such a morning person, by 5, 5:30 I am up. By 8 pm I am nodding off, no wonder I don't like being invited out in the evenings. I prefer day time outings.

Jo said...

OK, I suggest you get some good modular stuff to put in your closet, to make it more like a dresser inside, that way you can fill your room with other things than furniture. If Dave and I didn't have so much clothing and so little closet space, I'd have done it this way.

A nightstand, though, should be doable!

Re: night owls -- I'm one, too, which is why waiting tables was a good job for me, but it's too bad that I was going to school while I was a server because it was like putting in an 8-hour day and then working another 8-hour shift on your feet. Eventually, you start to crack.

I think it will be good for you, though.

Flighty said...

I like the photo! I notice that you said frivolous gadget rather than item! xx

Pete said...

I have pretty similar sleeping patterns - although if forced to get up early for a number of days I can go to bed at about 12:30 - 1:00 left to my own self I got to bed sometime after 2 and wake about 11. Getting up early is really difficult and like you I'm most productive late at night. Night owls rule.

I have the iPhone and I have to say, I love it, I'm addicted. I think you'd love a touch, you can get some great apps. I love the NY Times app, I can read the paper for free on there and it's really easy to navigate.

Olivia said...

Guyana Gyal - wow, 8pm? In this city, the evening doesn't start until then, if not later.

I remember when my mother was growing up in Guyana, she talked about the 6am to 6pm day - because no one went out after sunset unless they wanted to meet up with jumbies.


Jo - I like the modular idea, but I am indecisive. IKEA should be a good bet, and I do need to go soon to get the midbeam for my bed.

However, my closet is the size of a postage stamp. Anything you have in Dallas is at least twice as big, I kid you not.

P.S. What else goes in a room that's not furniture...?


Flighty - anything by Apple is an iNdulgence, agreed? xx


Pete - I understand. On work days I rarely get to bed before 1am, which is highly frustrating.

You're lucky though, to work on your own time.

beginninghere said...

Liv, I found your comments on your sleep pattern very interesting indeed. It would seem to be a good idea if you could find a job with hours that would accommodate you better. As for finding furniture of a small size---that is tough. I have often thought that if someone were to start a business making fine furniture for small people and small spaces they would probably become millionaires. There are so many of us out here who want to put our feet on the ground when we sit down, or be able to fit more than one stuffed chair in a room, or have small rooms to furnish that just can't take the over-sized pieces that furniture stores usually carry. The ipod touch? I think you will like it. Ask Nikki.

Anonymous said...

I can TOTALLY relate to the sleeping pattern!!! It's a good idea to find a job that fits your sleeping pattern.
Speaking of legal stuff....I can see you doing paralegal or things of that sort.
we should cat this weekend.....

meimei said...

oh yes they do, men are silly

Jo said...

What goes in a room that's not furniture? You do! More space for lounging on the floor, on a comfy rug with a few floor pillows, maybe get a nice lap-desk for your laptop and you'll never have to leave the floor!

I have this thing about open floors. I prefer to have as little as possible hindering my view of the floor. Weird, no?

My closets aren't very big (not walk-in!!!) but I have a decent organizer in it, so I can fit my dress clothes and bulky sweaters in there. The dresser is for tees and undies and workout clothes. Too much stuff!