Hump Day: May God grant me the wisdom to hit the snooze button

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Leave it to me to become the worst of both possible worlds: a combination nighthawk and morning person.

Now, on the surface, this doesn’t seem so bad, perhaps. Get up nice and early, work all day and be able to stay up late, too! Yup, it’s just perfect, for a robot that doesn’t need any sleep, that is! For this human here, I’m not so sure.

Whatever happened to the old Brian of the 1980s and early 1990s who couldn’t stay awake past 10 p.m.? People in comas went to bed later than me back then. But at some point along the line in the mid-2000s, something in my brain switched and I became a hybrid between the early bird that catches the worm and Dracula.

Twice per week, I have a 7 a.m. meeting. To give myself time to wake up, listen to the news on the radio, read the newspaper and make myself gorgeous, the alarm is set for 5:30 a.m. Because I wear earplugs at night due to the cats’ nocturnal antics in the house, needless to say that the clock radio’s volume needs to be set to that of a jet engine.

Ever see all those birds taking flight at once on a National Geographic special? Yup, that’s because of my alarm. “But Brian, those birds were in Africa,” you say. Yup, I know. Africa. Trust me, they’d hear my alarm in Africa. It’s loud. Very loud.

Now, on the days when my alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m., you would expect a reasonable person to go to bed a bit earlier the night before. Unfortunately, when God was handing out common sense, I must have been in the bathroom.

On one shoulder, a little angel is whispering into my ear to go to bed early and count kittens so that I’ll fall asleep with pleasant thoughts and wake up good and rested after literally having grown a halo over my head overnight. On the other shoulder, there’s that little devil who’s whispering into my ear to go to Starbucks at 9 p.m. and order the biggest and strongest coffee they have, because you know, drinking a huge cup of coffee at 9 p.m. that’s so strong the spoon stands up in it is just what you need to have a good night’s sleep. Right?

Well, not exactly. I sleep pretty well, actually. I don’t suffer from insomnia very often, but if I’m dumb enough to have a coffee at 9 p.m., then I pay for it big time. Have you ever heard what’s on CBC Radio in the middle of the night? International documentaries and news from around the world. “And now, the news from Romania.” Actually, it wouldn’t be so bad to hear what’s going on in good ol’ Romania if it wasn’t 2:30 a.m. and my alarm was set for three hours later. Shut up, Romania!

Twenty years ago, I could barely stay awake until 10 p.m. These days, if I’m in bed before midnight, I’m either sick or am uncharacteristically exhausted. I have a pretty good stamina for working, but everyone has their limits, after all.

Sometimes, you have to let go of your ego and admit you’re tired. I know I’ve caught myself at 11 p.m. wondering why I’m so tired. (Yes, I know it’s 11 p.m. and a person’s supposed to be tired at that time, but this egomaniac doesn’t want to admit it most of the time.) Then I remember that I was awake at 5:30 a.m. and worked all day and ran around doing errands, etc. Is it no wonder I’m tired at 11 p.m.?

It’s perfectly normal to be tired at that time at the best of times, let alone after only three or four hours of sleep and an alarm blaring so ungodly loud that the earplugs that you pushed halfway into your brain the night before start to vibrate.

So, what should I call myself now that I’ve morphed into one of those oddest of creatures: the nighthawk morning person? A morninghawk, maybe? MorningDrac? Dracudawn? I feel so conflicted.

Is there a self-help group around for people like me? Do we have our own serenity prayer? “God, grant me the serenity to accept the clocks I cannot change, the courage to know when to go to bed early, and the wisdom to hit the snooze button.”

Sure, a person can always take a midday nap here and there, but when you’re expected to be at your desk, it’s not truly relaxing, especially when clients are e-mailing and calling. Even if you work from home like I do, you’re still expected to be responsive to clients during normal business hours.

In the end, I know that I really need to go to bed earlier at an intellectual level, but I always seem to find something to do or somewhere to go that ends up putting a wrench in those plans — and the next thing I know, it’s going on 1 a.m. and my alarm will be going off in about five hours.

Oh it’s all so frustrating. I honestly do love the quiet of the early mornings, but I’ve also grown to enjoy the peacefulness of late nights, too. If there’s a daylight saving time for sunlight, why can’t there be a quiet saving time for serenity? I would vote for that!

The older I get, I’m starting to think sleep is a waste of time. A reasonable amount of sleep is healthy, of course. I feel OK. I don’t feel sick, but everything I’m reading tells me I’m going to spontaneously combust if I don’t get more sleep. Maybe I should just sleep on it and figure the whole thing out in a dream. Wouldn’t that be ironic, eh?

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