Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: The Innocent Sleep

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  • Paul Campbell,

    sigh - I miss nights - I'm a night-time hacker - my best work has always done in the quiet focused intensity of 2am

    I've been living/working on US pacific time the past 4 years which means starting work at 5am NZ in the winter and 7am in the summer - finishing work at midday is fun but I miss night times and the unslept morning blah just doesn't replace it

    I nap a lot and switch timezones every weekend which I guess doesn't help

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It's not so great for the rest of the family either. The only person capable of remembering where they're supposed to be and when turns into someone with all the even temperament and approachability of a cat wearing dolls' clothes.

    Wow. Arresting image of the week.

    Did that spring from sleep deprivation? If so, it's clearly not all bad.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    a cat wearing dolls' clothes

    random side-note:
    There is a guy in Parnell who walks his dog up my street every day. The dog is always wearing a dress, though not always the same one. WTF?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    The worst bit of insomnia is going to bed exhausted and not being able to sleep.

    Yeah, that's what pisses me off the most. I find it hard to shake the feeling that my body just plain hates me. I'll stumble around all day with a head full of cotton wool, but then suddenly perk up shortly before bed time and spend half the night lying there awake thinking to myself "what the hell -- you just spent all day telling me you wanted sleep, and now you can get some, you're not interested? You contrary bitch!"

    And of course, there's the truism that the best cure for insomnia is the knowledge that it's time to get up -- half an hour before my alarm is due to go off, and now I'm drifting off effortlessly, only to have to prod myself awake again and again...

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

  • Kerry Weston,

    Snap. I should really go live in one of those countries where they have a siesta after lunch, have dinner at 9pm and retire after midnight.

    Thanks for the link - never knew it was officially a circadian rhythm thing though I suspected. I muddled through with workplace requirements, but it was not until I was seriously tuned into artwork that I realised my energies didn't truly kick in until about 3pm - then I could stay up until 3am, no troubles. And felt properly focussed and in tune with myself and the world.

    Hate to say it, but it's got worse for me with age - definitely linked with light/seasonal change. Going into and coming out of winter really throws me as does daylight saving. One of my sons is the same.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Did that spring from sleep deprivation? If so, it's clearly not all bad.

    Image, that comes from sleep deprivation. Assembling of sentence to convey that image coherently most definitely requires sleep. Sometimes I feel like I'm collaborating with myself.

    I miss night times and the unslept morning blah just doesn't replace it

    Yeah, sing it brother. I can, with force, wake and sleep at normal hours, but I can't shift my good brain hours from being about 10pm til 2am. I just lose them altogether.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    There is a guy in Parnell who walks his dog up my street every day. The dog is always wearing a dress, though not always the same one. WTF?

    Are you more concerned about the dog wearing the dress, or the fact that the owner has a whole set and changes them throughout the week?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Williams,

    I'll find myself standing in the bathroom holding a meat tenderiser, with no idea what I was doing.

    ooh. sympathy. that sounds .... sorry, got no adjectives. sounds difficult and bloody inconvenient.

    i can't say i'm a fellow sufferer. if i'm very stressed sleep is often the first thing to go but generally me and sleep are OK, aside from normal toddler-induced sleep deprivation.

    on the other hand, thanks so much for the post because i think i've got a mate who might like to know about DSPS. she's a shocking sleeper and i'm pretty sure all her attempts to find out why have met with not much help at all.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I suffer from restlesslegs syndrome, which is a novelty type of affliction that should be reserved for circus clowns and the like. I've half learned to manage it over the years - it involves a lot of gymnastics in bed, and not the fun kind - but it's still a prick of a thing to be at the mercy of. Sometimes nothing works and by the time four o'clock rolls around I feel like I've placed a respectable third in a Pyrenees stage of the Tour de France.

    When I was a toddler I used to be able to sleep through it, by rocking backwards and forwards. At home my cot had wheels, so I woke up each time in a different corner of the room, but when we were holidaying in our caravan there was nothing to absorb the kinetic energy and so the whole structure rocked portentously, I am told. When I had my afternoon nap mum made a big show of sitting by the open door so that the people in the campsite wouldn't think that some sort of sordid bacchanalia where going on within.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    I miss the night too. When we stay with my parents Jamie and I often sneak out for a walk after the kids have gone to bed which is the best holiday treat. I have friends who get all worried about me if I try to walk home at 7pm in summer.

    My body and I have compromised on an 11pm bedtime and 7.30ish wake-up and so long as I have least least two cups of coffee and some tea generally gets me through the day with over 50% of my mental capacity functioning. I know I used to be a whole bunch smarter when I didn't have to see mornings though.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    (It’s 3:42. I wonder what Turkish Delight is called in Turkey?)

    I bet whatever they call turkish delight isn't what we call turkish delight.

    There is a guy in Parnell who walks his dog up my street every day. The dog is always wearing a dress, though not always the same one. WTF?

    WTF indeed - any idea what sort of dog it is? I mean, a little lap pooch, or something a gigantic?

    BTW, I have so little trouble sleeping, I could do it standing up when I was very small. Some might unkindly suggest I still can.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Bryan Dods,

    Valerian based herbal remedies can remove the "brain chatter" that so often keeps one zinging when trying to sleep.
    It does not have a knockout like a barbiturate based sedative. It is quite gentle in overall effect.

    A child's eczema set up a bad sleeping pattern for us. He used to wake every hour and a half, screaming and scratching. If he had not woken after two hours we were wide awake wondering if he was alright. Many bad nights were had.

    Valerian helped me establish a regular sleep routine again after the eczema was sorted.

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    I recently discovered Bournvita and now I am a morning person.

    What do people do all morning?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    What do people do all morning?

    Yawn, moan and feel guilty about being completely useless?

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • rightochaps,

    As a baby, I slept too much. Now as an insomniac, going to sleep is admitting defeat. I take sleeping pills which lull me off into a world of sighing relaxation. Though while waiting for said lull, I usually grab a pen and some paper and make lists. Lists of US states beginning with W. Lists of NZ towns. Lists of the longest acronyms I can think of. Names of US presidents, NZ prime ministers, current politicians... Making lists is a great way to entertain the mind and force it to the point where it says, "oh fine. I give up. You win."

    And five litres of Coke? That is insane.

    Ps, I'm an arts student too, and the 9am history lectures are killing me.

    the 09 • Since Aug 2008 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    (It’s 3:42. I wonder what Turkish Delight is called in Turkey?)

    Wikipedia sez it's called lokum or loukoum.

    There is a guy in Parnell who walks his dog up my street every day. The dog is always wearing a dress, though not always the same one. WTF?

    Please, some of us are at work! This is no place to discuss doggy style!

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    It's the moralistic overtones about morning people being more virtuous that piss me off. Wait until I'm in a position of power and I'll be scheduling meetings at 10pm and see how they like it. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Ps, I'm an arts student too, and the 9am history lectures are killing me.

    Try 8am economics 101 lectures when you've got no desire to be an economist! I swear, the core BCom courses are designed to weed out those who just don't have drive. I am so hanging out to graduate. My brain has finally had enough.

    Sympathies to the sleepless. My body's a bit weird, if I'm not asleep by 11 it's often closer to 1 before I actually nod off and it'll then have me wide awake between 6 and 7 even though I don't have to be up until 8. Can be right annoying, so I vaguely understand your pain.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    It's the moralistic overtones about morning people being more virtuous that piss me off. Wait until I'm in a position of power and I'll be scheduling meetings at 10pm and see how they like it. :)

    Yeah, I'm not sure why there's this perception that people who sleep from ten until six are virtuous, but people who sleep from two until ten are lazy degenerates. I'm sure it's not been deduced from observation or anything.

    I have friends who get all worried about me if I try to walk home at 7pm in summer.

    Yeah, me too. I really don't get it. Unless they're worried about vampires?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    "(It’s 3:42. I wonder what Turkish Delight is called in Turkey?)"

    Wikipedia sez it's called lokum or loukoum.

    That's the (dis)advantage of having a web-enabled phone: you can stay in bed and still check that sort of thing.

    I spent about 7 years on rotating shiftwork. I could handle it at first, but after a while I found that I could no longer sleep more than a couple of hours after night shifts. On the plus side, I had an amazing amount of free time. On the minus side, after a couple of days I felt like I was in a third-person shooter, hovering a couple of metres behind and above my head and watching this other person stumbling around the world.

    One lingering effect was that, since I spent my first working years having to consciously plan my sleep patterns, I remained acutely aware of what time I have to get to bed to get 8 hours' sleep. I used to get quite paranoid and antsy if I approached that time without getting near to bed, even though I've since realised that if left to my own devices, I'll probably wake up refreshed after about 7 hours.

    These days, while I suffer from the odd night of insomnia (head whirring with ideas about work, writing or whatever), 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?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I wonder if it is universal across cultures that early risers are valued? Do worms count everywhere?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Yeah, I'm not sure why there's this perception that people who sleep from ten until six are virtuous, but people who sleep from two until ten are lazy degenerates. I'm sure it's not been deduced from observation or anything.

    I've always been a morning person and I'm totally virtuous. Ask anyone.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    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. He has to go to bed around around 10, 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.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    I wonder if it is universal across cultures that early risers are valued?

    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. And it's only very recently in human culture that we've been able to light up the night and work whenever we want: if you slept in and wasted the morning light, it reduced the amount of time available for productive labour.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • David Hamilton,

    Great post! I'm sure I have a variant of this, and of course everyone I know thinks I'm some kind of lazy timewaster. Especially my mum, who always remarks with surprise at the fact I have just woken up when I answer the phone at midday on Saturday.

    Lectures at nine am were torture at uni (though the seven pm tests worked great for me), and at school the only detentions I got were for repeated lateness. My job thankfully is a bit flexible though I'm sure my timing is frowned upon and isn't preferable. Nine thirty is my usual goal but it sometimes gets to ten. I always set my alarm for seven thirty am but waking up and moving then feels like torture. It's not just a lack of self discipline, there is actually something really physiologically hard about it. On the other hand, if it's a one off weird time, like 4:30am to go snowboarding or catch a flight I don't have any problems at all.

    Night was always my favourite time. It's a night wind that gets under my skin, the patterns of light on black, the unique smell of a city in the dark.

    I really relate to this too, I start getting restless and creative at about 10pm and going to bed just sucks. I've always found it tough with normal sleeping flatmates because it's my natural time to pick up the guitar. Some of my favourite times when I lived in Wellington were walking the city streets late at night, or taking my guitar over the street to Lyall Bay where I would wander up and down singing to the sea with the wind snatching my voice away.

    Moving through a world with all the internal coherency of a David Lynch adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel...

    That is a great metaphor :)

    Hamiltron • Since Nov 2006 • 111 posts Report Reply

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