February 08, 2009

I Fear I Can Only Burn the Candle From One End Now

Image via Dreamstime.com

Maybe I am finally getting old - or maybe the days of staying up until 2 and getting up at 6 day after day are finally catching up to me. Maybe it's the twins. But for whatever reason, I have found that getting up earlier than normal has much more of an impact on my system than having stayed up late the previous day - even if the total hours having slept in between are the same. I don't believe it is an issue of perception, and I don't believe it is an issue of personal preference, but it has most certainly happened.

On Thursday, I had a 7:15 flight out of San Jose to Denver to meet with Lijit, and as a result, I had set my alarm to spur me awake by 5, so I could be up and ready and packed and on my way. I slipped out of the house in the dark, winking at the kids as they, luckily for my wife, stayed asleep. And by that night, I was dragging. It might have been a factor of the high elevation, or a full day, but I was flagged by 10 - an unthinkable sin for my usual standards of uptime.

In contrast, the prior week, I had stayed up until 3:30 working on a writing project, and still managed to get up and get the family to church by 9 the next morning, with no downside, so far as I could tell. Had I instead opted to go to bed at midnight, and set the alarm for 4:30, to start the project, there is no doubt I would have been hitting the snooze bar enough times that I would have lost the opportunity.

After a high school job that had me working graveyard shift from 1:30 to 9:30 a.m. during the summers, and time at UC Berkeley spent as the online editor, when I would arrive as late as midnight, once the paper had gone to bed, posting through 4 a.m., and making morning classes, I just can't take the hit on the early side that I used to.

I've written about the issue of sleep, and how much of an impediment it is to my getting everything done. (See: Sleep Is a Waste Of Time and Insomnia - I Can't Get No Sleep)

The twins themselves are not really part of the problem any more. They, on a typical night, go to bed at 7:30 p.m. and wake up at 8 the following morning. It's perfect. And when Sarah woke up at midnight to 1 a.m. last night, I was delighted to get some one on one time. But had she woken up instead at 5:30 this morning, I'd have been bleary eyed and bitter for sure. While I recognize the change, and admit I probably need to plan on not carving into my mornings, I am fighting the change, as for me, it seems like a partial fail.