John McDonald

Blogging about politics, life, and the web

Sleeping by the moon

March 11th, 2010

I’ve never really fit on to a 24 hour daily schedule.  During school and through my first jobs it was always a nightmare – I just couldn’t go to bed and wake up at the same time day after day.

First I got around it by taking on jobs with irregular hours, the kind of gig where you might work lunch one day and close up on the next one.  Of course, its hard to get a good job that way so I also tried out the regularly scheduled, five-day plan.  Pulled it off for almost two years, but the stress just kept piling on despite the fact that I actually liked the job’s environment and tasks.

So it was shortly after a very painful dental surgery that I realized I had to go mercenary and learn how to make money on my own – any time of day, any way I could.  No more schedules, no more putting the rotation of the sun over the cycle and rhythm of my body.

And it worked…

Shortly after abandoning the scheduled day that everyone considers normal, I almost immediately noticed that a different pattern was developing.  Every day I would want to go to bed about an hour later than the day before.  Yesterday, I went to bed at 6:40pm, the day before was about 5:45, and the day before that was right around five.

I didn’t think much of it at first because, well, that was the point – to go to bed and wake up when my body says its time.

Then almost as a joke, my friend mentions that I’m not sleeping randomly, I’m sleeping on a lunar schedule.  It sounded like it had some grain of truth in it and I had to go find out more…

Well apparently, the lunar day is about 24 hours and 50 minutes long.  Weird – that’s very close to the interval between my bed times.  So I decide to check it out a bit further:  How does my bed time coincide with the flow of the tides?

Pulling up a local tidal calendar, I can’t say I was too surprised to learn that my daily trip to bed – for the whole last week – had lined up almost perfectly with the high tide of the river at the nearby Mainstreet bridge.

So … now what does my nature tell me?  What is this adaptation good for?  Fishing?  I guess this means I wake up shortly before low-tide – and that’s a good time to start fishing as the tide comes in and rises.

Oh well, the river here is pretty gross (thank you, local industry!) and there’s no way I’m going to give up the comfort of my website revenue to go chasing after a rising tide at 5 am.  Maybe I’ll check it out next time I feel like I’ve got spare time and need a hobby…

So what is up?!  Do you know anyone with an odd sleeping schedule that doesn’t ever quite sync up to the “normal world?”  Is there some lunar influence on our circadian rhythm when we’re able to shut out the outside light and use electrical illumination instead?

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