The Circadian Rhythm is gonna get you

270px-kelly_clarkson_1.jpgEither Nadira Hira is writing on issues that uniformly affect an entire generation or it’s merely coincidence that I empathize with yet another one of her posts. I wouldn’t have felt obliged to share had I not just had this same conversation on sleep deficiency with a couple friends over dinner the other night. During dinner I confessed that many nights recently I’ve been up until 2:00 or 3:00am watching Conan O’Brien and Sports Center while emailing and chatting with other insomniacs, that is until my brain succumbs to its unnatural circadian rhythms and I finally fall asleep. Then every morning follows the same pattern:

5:30 am – Cell Phone alarm goes off. I turn it off and go back to sleep
5:35 am – Cell Phone alarm goes off again. I turn it off, roll out of bed, put on my work out clothes and running shoes
5:45 am – Drive to the gym with a cup of coffee.

By 6:00 even though I am still probably technically asleep I am running on a treadmill which is one of a bank of treadmills that is set up in front of a window that looks down at the street. Despite my desire to get a semblance of a work-out in before the day starts, I’m haunted by the vision of me stumbling on the treadmill, falling and being shot out the window to the street below. A plummeting somnambulist lost in a cascade of shattered glass.

After a shower and some more coffee under my belt, as they say, I arrive at the office around 8:30. By 8:35 I usually make my way to the counter of the coffee shop across the street where I order yet more coffee and a bagel with cream cheese. One day last week though, much to my chagrin, not only did the cream cheese not come pre-spread on the bagel but instead in a small container on the side, but it also came without a knife. I asked the person at the counter if I could have a plastic knife and she motioned to a station on the other side of the shop and said, “They’re over there.” I left my food on the table, walked over the station, grabbed a plastic knife and walked back to my food. Unfortunately, the knife was not a knife but was in fact a fork. I walked back across the shop, retuned the fork, grabbed a knife and said to the person behind the counter with a laugh as I passed by, “They’re all upside down in the holders. They all look the same.” Returning to my bagel I moved to scoop the cream cheese from its container with the knife except it wasn’t a knife, it was a spoon. Embarrassed I walked back across the shop, returned the spoon, picked up a knife, made sure it was a knife, said nothing the person behind the counter as I passed by, retrieved my now cold bagel and lukewarm coffee and returned to work. Whether it was due to a lack of sleep or some rare form of utensil dyslexia I finally realized I had a problem.

I’ve tried the rocks glass of whiskey before bed (hello AA is right) but that only disrupts my sleeping pattern even more. Unfortunately, the privacy room at my office is a broom closet in the hall that no one ever checks. Ever tried to use a mop head as a pillow and a hefty bag as a blanket? I’m worse than George Costanza.

It may be, as Nadira says, just a seasonal thing, growing older or working harder, but something’s got to give soon. Even my Kelly Clarkson CD isn’t working anymore and that used to always put me to sleep.


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