Thursday, June 01, 2006

What do you mean it's bedtime?

It's starting already. The summertime insomnia. I just can't get my body to understand and accept that this place is different from home. Back on Cape Cod, I was used to the morning starting about half five in the morning and sunset was around eight at night. We were told to be home when the streetlights came on.

Cape Cod is on a parallel with Spain, where Scotland is with Alaska. So, although we have official sunset at about quarter to ten at night, it's a very long dusk, and it's only dark for a few hours, before the dawn starts to show and sunrise comes again at half four. Back home it's sunset just after eight and sunrise after five. My body clock is still set to Cape Cod time. I look out the window and think, oh it's still early. Husband is off to bed and wondering why I'm so awake - because to me it's not time for sleep, I've not had the sunset yet to trigger me to wind down for sleep. Same goes that I'm waking up at three in the morning, seeing bright morning light and thinking, great, time to get up! The birds start their dawn chorus from three in the morning. Let me just say, although I love most animals, I really dislike those birds. They used to tell me it was time to wake up, now they're waking me up four hours early. I've always been a morning person, but not that much .

I've lived here for almost 11 years, and it's the one thing I can't adjust to. I've got the culture aspects down, the manners and even gotten used to the food*, but my body just cannot understand and accept the difference of night and day. It screws me up every summer, I sleep far too much in the winter, can't understand why I go to work (when I was working) in the dark and get out and it's still dark - no one should suffer with only five hours of daylight in wintertime, it's cruel. It goes someway to explain why folks here have such a dour outlook sometimes. Excellent expression "their faces are tripping them up," is quite applicable.

I keep thinking it should be an easy matter, that the body will adjust to the hours, as opposed to the amount of sunlight available. That if I wake up at seven in the morning, after fifteen hours, I should be sleepy and think about going to bed, but I don't work that way. I imagine if I ever moved further north, where it's daylight all summer, I'd never sleep. Last summer, through parts of July and August I was up until two in the morning just wasting time in chat rooms because I couldn't sleep and didn't want to have the TV on and risk wake everyone else.

I'm not looking forward to this happening again, and yet it already has. I'm forcing myself to bed at about eleven but not falling asleep easily, and I wake several times a night. I thought all this exercise was supposed to help me sleep better, but no amount of exercise can overcome my internal clock; or as i now call it, the infernal clock.

I think it needs a better name. Like Stan.

*(which is mostly pork and chicken. It's the least expensive of the meats available and highly promoted. Vegetables are not as plentiful and are very expensive as compared to the USA - a healthy diet is hard to attain due to it's cost. The UK needs to get it's farming under it's own control and out of Europe. Most produce is imported. For a country that has miles and miles of farmland, most of it used as subsidized land for European crop, and around here it's rapeseed which is turned into canola oil. I dare you try and find one bottle of canola oil anywhere in the grocery stores here. Sometimes they seem to take five steps backwards and complain about how they're never going anywhere.)


NWJR said...

Great post. I love "infernal clock".

tornwordo said...

Makes you wonder if the birds are sleep deprived too.

Maja said...

I don't remember having any trouble sleeping in Iceland during the 24 hour daylight, but on weekends I did used to stay up all night and sleep all day. I don't really have a problem sleeping when it's light. In fact, I think I prefer it sometimes! I reckon you should just take naps during the day! :)

Bananna said...

I couldn't imagine. I would never get my kids to sleep if it was light outside.
Once it gets mid summer here, it stays light until maybe 8 or 9 and they REFUSE to go to bed until its dark.
I don't know how I would handle it, since, if given the chance, I can take a nap in the middle of the day for hours!LOL

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Wow! All that daylight. How neat -- if you can sleep, which I could.

Good luck with your inFernal clock.

Manblogger641 said...

I've been having trouble sleeping lately as well. I get up about every hour on the hour here in New Jersey. I like the birds chirping at 4am it puts me to sleep again. Hope you get some sleep soon.

SafeTinspector said...

The wife of a friend of mine has an issue sleeping when there is light. She blacked out all the windows of her bedroom.
Worked a charm. Have you considered?