Monday, 31 March 2008

Sleepists!

I have a confession. I have spent my whole life being bullied and forced to subjugate an innate part of who I am to conform to the prejudices and biases of others.

It's time to stand up and say I, Aldee, am a Night Owl. Just because I am asleep at 11am doesn't mean that I am lazy. Just because I am invariably wide awake at midnight doesn't mean I am undisciplined. My circadian rhythms are simply different to yours. It has been scientifically proven that I am genetically different to you, and henceforth I refuse to submit to the sleepist dominance of the Lark.

Larks have long been seen as "better" people. They make better employees, showing up early and getting more done before 9am than I would accomplish before 5pm. They get special offers in restaurants, "early bird specials". The early bird gets the worm and all that.

All my life I have been different. I don't want to eat worms for a start. I detest mornings, I think they are an abomination. Through choice I sleep late, and then suffer the glares and condescension of those who got up with the lark who know in their hearts that because they have seen the sun come up they are better than me. I don't care if I have slept "half the day away". In my view, they have wasted half the night by sleeping through it too!

I actually turned my whole day around as a student, staying up all night studying until 6am, then having a cup of tea with my mum when she got up to go to work. She would go to work and I would go to bed. Worked fabulously, and I got excellent grades. Even nowadays, I prefer to do any work that needs close attention at night. I do book-keeping for Himself's business, and by choice I work 11pm-2am. That is when my brain functions best! If I try and do it in the day-time, it take me longer as I stumble and double-check.

However I suffer for it the next day now. As an adult you have to conform. Your work day and your children's school days don't comply with the needs of the Night Owl. Children need to be up earlier, for breakfast and school and for routine's sake. Being a Night owl with children is hard. I am bleary-eyed and thick-tongued. I peer at them and bark impatient orders. I spend all day in a fug, everything is hazy and my head spins with fatigue.

But don't tell me to go to bed earlier. By 6pm I ping awake, and am productive and efficent, and couldn't sleep even with the aid of sleeping pills (which make me itch. Have tried you see). If I went to bed I would lie there, tossing and turning and getting crosser and bleaker as my mind raced with a thousand thoughts. So I stay up stupidly late, and then growl when the alarm goes off in the morning. However, I do get so much accomplished at night - and I don't mean just chatting to my msn friends! I clean my house, I do my banking, I sort the laundry, I read, I watch movies, I do the book-work, I do research, I write business plans, I write lesson plans... I work very happily until 2 or 3 am, and get so much done!

Calling Night Owls lazy is actually fairly laughable. In general we get far less sleep than most. We are up and doing until the small hours but then still have to get up to conform to the Lark. Whereas while we are working most of the night, the Larks are snoring away in their beds. So who is the lazy one?

There isn't much I can do to force the whole world to change their habits to suit mine. Much as a left-hander must adjust to living in a right-hand world, so the Night owls amongst us need to try and fit in with the larks. Still, it would be nice to dream of equality... during my mid-afternoon nap!

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