Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: The Innocent Sleep

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  • Emma Hart,

    But seriously, one of the ways we've learned to avoid stress the younger boy (on his part and ours) is to acknowledge his sleeping patterns.

    I'd love to be able to do this with my daughter - normal school routine makes her grumpy and less productive. The high school my (morning-person) son will be starting next year does at least allow the kids to attend from 10-4 if that works better for them.

    It probably makes sense in rural cultures, and since most cultures have been rural until a few generations ago, the values of rising with the cock's crow are still ingrained.

    There's always been some work that needs to be done at night though, even if it's just guarding against nocturnal predators. It's safer to not have your whole group sleeping at the same time.

    I believe that's the theory behind adolescents having a slightly different circadian rhythm - so they're less in direct competition with adults for mates and resources.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    I believe that's the theory behind adolescents having a slightly different circadian rhythm - so they're less in direct competition with adults for mates and resources.

    That makes sense: otherwise, the early teen would get the bird.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • davesparks,

    Ooh, me too. Night is nice!

    But rather than a syndrome or disorder, I always figured it was a genetic adaption suggesting my ancestors were geared for night hunts. Goes with the squinty eyes that only work properly when the sun goes down.

    Thanks for the post - its nice to see so many people with the same experience. I'd always thought we were just a small elite ;)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    These days the main threat to a good night's sleep is a Mega Mai Tai at Matterhorn in the small hours of a Wednesday morning. Right, Robyn?

    Oh lordy. It's because of this that I've been drinking many cups of instant coffee today. I tried to give myself an extra hour of sleep this morning, but I still (painfully) woke up at the usual time.

    A few years ago I used to finish work at about 11pm. I'd get home and need to spend a few hours winding down before I could get to sleep. Bedtime ended up being at around 4am. It's very peaceful that late at night.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    There is a lot to be said for the siesta, particulary when you have endured several hours of unfamiliar morning, as I have today.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    One "early" habit that I can't get into is the idea of eating at 6pm. I'm much happier dining at 8pm or so, but that gets strange looks in some places. Is it a Kiwi thing? Or is it just that I've never had kids, and never had to get into a routine of feeding hungry hordes and getting them into bed?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    One "early" habit that I can't get into is the idea of eating at 6pm.

    Have a read of this fascinating article on the "evolution of mealtimes".

    Late main meals are a luxury of the moneyed classes!

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Another Lucubrator here...

    In summer I go to bed at dawn. In winter I go to bed past midnight but always wake up just before dawn (I think I am seriously addicted to the dawn chorus (which does not consist of increasing traffic, sirens, and random dogs here.)) I have been known to stay up until well after dawn during the season to catch an early tide but that's getting rare these days.

    And I am a very restless sleeper - I revolve and flail all over the bed
    (necessarily queensized.) Thank goodness that my personal inclinations mean that this does not inconvenience anyone else, and that I am self-employed - it is one of the things I most enjoy, living time my own way round. Eating when I want to,(I cook for my guests, family or friends, when they want to eat, sit with them but dont always eat with them), working when I want to. Poor but happy-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    My psychiatrist has me on sleeping pills to adjust my circadian rhythms. Apart from the lingering taste in my mouth, they're glorious things, except they take a good 12 hours to get out of my system, and they make my dreams even more vivid so I don't actually want to wake up.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    My psychiatrist has me on sleeping pills to adjust my circadian rhythms. Apart from the lingering taste in my mouth, they're glorious things, except they take a good 12 hours to get out of my system, and they make my dreams even more vivid so I don't actually want to wake up.

    Is that melatonin? My doctor tried me on that for a while. It didn't seem to make any difference to my sleeping, but I did get the vivid dreams. The first night I took it I dreamt I was involved in a gun fight between my younger brother and the presenters of Top Gear. Awesome...

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Late main meals are a luxury of the moneyed classes!

    Or at least of the shabby genteel. Eating before 7pm seems peculiar to me. What does one do for the rest of the evening?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    It's the moralistic overtones about morning people being more virtuous that piss me off.

    Oh how I hate those sanctimonious bastards. I distinctly recall one workplace where I would get in at some respectably early hour (say 8.30), and some complete fuckwit who had got there 20 minutes earlier would give me the whole routine. Every fucking morning.

    Yeah, that never grew tired.

    I can do early mornings if I have to (did a year of 7.45am starts a while back), but left to my own devices it's dinner at 10pm, bed at 2am, and arise at 10am. My most productive time tends to be late afternoon.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Late main meals are a luxury of the moneyed classes!

    Definitely an interesting article. Though I wonder if it's a little Anglo-centric: aren't later mealtimes (9pm+) common in Mediterranean countries? That's probably something to do with siesta.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    aren't later mealtimes (9pm+) common in Mediterranean countries? That's probably something to do with siesta.

    Quite. The people of Naples and Sicily could hardly be called moneyed but they have dinner very very late. Blame the climate.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    s that melatonin? My doctor tried me on that for a while.

    No, it's zopiclone, which according to Wikipedia shouldn't be taken for long-term use, but oh well!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I can do early mornings if I have to (did a year of 7.45am starts a while back), but left to my own devices it's dinner at 10pm, bed at 2am, and arise at 10am. My most productive time tends to be late afternoon.

    I have:

    6am-12pm: Ideally, not a 6am start, but I can work consistently and productively through those times if I have to.

    1pm-4pm: Are you kidding? Hopeless for writing, okay for meetings, best for the supermarket or idle internet surfing. Siesta!

    4pm-6.30pm: The extra productive period I was obliged to discover as my workload rose. Tends to rely on the glass of wine.

    7pm-10pm: I've been reading all day. I just don't want to read any more. I want to watch the pretty TV pictures, or get irie and play music while I do the dishes. (I also cook, which heals the soul.)

    10pm-??: If I really have to, I'll spend an hour setting up stuff for the morning. I find it much easier to get up at 5am and nail something than to try and press on with it at 1am.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    When I was at uni (just a wee while ago now) I never started writing essays before 11pm as that was the stage when flatmates and visitors were no longer around to distract me and I could get a clear run at it. I found that a really productive time. One holidays I fully went with my body clock and fell into a pattern of being up until 3 or 4 am and sleeping until just after lunchtime. I felt FABULOUS but it really, really didn't work with the real world. I think I have the double problem of being a night-owl and also needing a lot of sleep.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    dog wearing a dress

    Its a medium sized dog (i don't know much about dogs). The dog looks slightly embarrassed about wearing the dress. The owner is an oriental dude, he seems friendly enough. I gave him a funny look, but he didn't feel compelled to explain the dog to me. Next time I see him i'm going to ask him more about it. Maybe the dog dressing is a cultural thing.

    not getting to sleep at night

    I find working in an office all day does that to me. At the end of the day, I'm mentally tired, but not physically. A bit of sport or something before/after/during work helps.

    Also staying away from teh interwebs & telly late at night helps

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Kimberley Alford,

    Yep its lokum you can even get chocolate flavoured now, double fun :)

    Turkey/New Zealand • Since Aug 2008 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    but we can't make him sleep (sometimes he'll read webcomics in the dark on the EEE PC), and we're not obliged to make him get up early in the mornings since we withdrew him from school.

    Which I fancy makes us sound like bad parents. But it has worked.

    Oh, i so relate to this. My 15yr old sleeps mega hours at any time of the day or night. We can "normalise" the pattern but he falls out of it really easily = winter is diabolical. As a parent, one must grow a thick skin & try to retain faith in yourself that you actually do know best I think NZ is relatively unenlightened re: adolescents & teens, I dunno - is it a culture of sameness?

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I gave him a funny look, but he didn't feel compelled to explain the dog to me. Next time I see him i'm going to ask him more about it. Maybe the dog dressing is a cultural thing.

    police dog, bad dog, super dog, and Mr dog

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    One "early" habit that I can't get into is the idea of eating at 6pm. I'm much happier dining at 8pm or so, but that gets strange looks in some places. Is it a Kiwi thing? Or is it just that I've never had kids, and never had to get into a routine of feeding hungry hordes and getting them into bed?

    It was kids that finally fixed our evening meal at half five. It seemed silly to feed them and then send them straight to bed, and even sillier not to all eat at the same time.

    For a year or so just before we had our first child, my partner was working night shift. It was an easy slide for me to just keep his hours. Not sure how the upstairs neighbours felt about me vacuuming at 4am. We still had our main meal in the early evening, though, which got us down to two meals a day. It suited us fine, but there was a sense of being completely out of sync with the rest of the world.

    Is that melatonin? My doctor tried me on that for a while. It didn't seem to make any difference to my sleeping, but I did get the vivid dreams.

    Melatonin is the only thing that's ever had any effect on my sleep. My dr gave it to me along with a prescription for sleeping pills if that didn't work, because I was verging on psychotic. It helps with my inability to adjust to seasonal changes, and I do feel better when I wake up when I've been taking it. It's serotonin that gives me weird dreams.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    And here I was thinking this thread would logically continue later than others.. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Judd,

    Is that melatonin? My doctor tried me on that for a while. It didn't seem to make any difference to my sleeping, but I did get the vivid dreams.

    and

    Melatonin is the only thing that's ever had any effect on my sleep... It helps with my inability to adjust to seasonal changes, and I do feel better when I wake up when I've been taking it.

    I love Melatonin. You can buy it over the counter here in the US and it helps me have the most natural night of sleep, with the added bonus of excellent and memorable dreams (which I hardly ever experience otherwise).
    Combined with a bit of exercise and bright light it's great for speeding up jetlag recovery too. +1 vote for Melatonin.

    Perth • Since Nov 2006 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Well I guess in keeping with the nature of the post, here I am….

    I went chronic at quite an early age. At boarding school it proved to be quite an advantage I would be awake when others slept and they would be terrified that I would smother them in their sleep……brooohahahhaha ! It also got me into quite a lot of trouble having micro sleeps in lessons.

    As far as childcare is concerned it proved a real bonus, the wee man was born four months ago. The beautiful one is an early bird and finally she realised that having only 2 hours in the day when we were both asleep was quite an asset. Four months in and she finally understands that different, really can mean good.

    I can function on four to five hours a night it’s only when I get below this that my world seems lined with soiled velvet. Sticky, slow and somehow scratchy those days pass until I crash out. I’ve learned not to drive cars in the mid afternoon but can drive at night. I do believe I get more from life but then wouldn’t know any better. Yeah…I love the dawn in a very different way, like I’ve earned it, creeping up on me in my silent hours. The smell of flowers on a dew drawn morning, I get that.

    Being an academic means I still get to steal the odd morning in bed, though a little less so these days. My only real regret is that It has ruined any real sporting aspirations that I held. The lack of sleep means my body really doesn’t tolerate hard training for long periods. My immune system gets kind of spooky and I just don’t recover properly.

    I also hope my wee man isn’t the same - it took a bit of getting used to, for me at least.

    Any ways it's time I took off to do the washing up……..

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

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