helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

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on tricycles and mornings

I've known for years - nay, decades - that I am Not A Morning Person. I only realised how serious the issue was when I attempted to go back to full-time work. I am so very Not A Morning Person that it is impossible for me to maintain a "normal" sleep-wake cycle. This is a statement which no one else has the right to argue with, by the way. Believe me, I've tried absolutely-effing-every piece of advice from sleep specialists, several modern pharmaceuticals, a bunch of herbal stuff and home remedies, and it still doesn't work. The fact is, my natural sleep-wake cycle is for me to wake up around midmorning, and fall asleep around 3am. If I stay on this cycle, I can maintain it indefinitely. If I attempt to get up at a "normal" time, I still don't fall asleep any earlier. So if I try to get into work for 8.30am, I can manage that for less than a week before I collapse in a terrible heap of physical and mental exhaustion. No drug with a Z in the title has ever made me sleep. (When I was prescribed Zolpidem, I once, in desperation, looked online for the maximum safe dose. I proceeded to take 4 tablets, and was still utterly wide awake wondering why the hell I couldn't sleep 5 hours later.) The healthiest thing for me is to say "sod 'normal', I'll have to work for myself at the hours I choose". Just like my fat activist friends who believe it is safer and healthier for themselves to maintain an active body at a higher weight rather than going through a constant cycle of dieting followed by weight gain, I believe it's safer and healthier for me to have a regular sleep-wake cycle rather than a "normal" one.

So I was ridiculously amused when rowan_leigh found this link: The A-Team and the B-Team (warning, post contains artistic nudity). I agree with almost everything the author says, except that his B-ness is nowhere near as extreme as mine. (Falling asleep at 1am & waking at 9? Luxury!). The thing that I've noticed though, and have never actually documented, is how much I'm Not A Morning Person. I'm sure it's entirely normal to be brain-fogged and bleary for a while in the morning. But my Not A Morning Person-ness extends to far more than my brain.

This morning (yes, it was before 12 noon): I woke up. 45 minutes after waking up, I cycled to my first student of the day. Slowly, in 3rd gear.

After the lesson, an hour later: I cycled along a road with more bumps in it slowly, in 4th gear. Then up the Hill That Used To Defeat Me (copyright epi_lj) in 1st gear, puffing a little.

Came home, sat in front of the computer for a couple of hours before going back out to the shops to buy all the things I'd forgotten existed, because I'd been too sleepy earlier in the day to remember that I needed to eat more than one meal. Cycled along the road at high speed, in 4th gear. Considered switching up to 5th, but didn't as my tyres felt like they could do with some attention. Came back up the Hill That Used To Defeat Me in 2nd gear, easily, despite noticing the existence of photochemical pollution due to the sunny afternoon & its effect on my lungs.

It seems that as well as mental "not being awake yet", there's a physical factor too. Though I tend to get out of bed feeling rested, my body has no stamina when it's the morning for me. It aches and gets tired far more quickly. By my mid-afternoon, this has eased, and I have more strength with which to turn the pedals. Also, by being more awake, I have the confidence to ride more quickly, knowing that I'm in full control of the tricycle, and that I need only a fingertip touch to stop or redirect the trike if some obstacle occurs. By the evening, I'm properly awake, and I can enjoy long periods of exercise - an hour or two hours. Or I can start creative work in earnest, knowing I'll have several hours of my brain working at its peak capacity before bed. My most awake hour is 10pm, and I try to schedule serious brain-work for then.

The realisation that it's a whole-body thing goes some way towards explaining why I'm so impatient & easily annoyed by those freaky mutants who leap out of bed with the most energy they'll ever have in the day.
Tags: not a morning person, note to self, sleep disorders, tricycles

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