Rather than writing and thinking about sleep, I should be actually sleeping. Often times I function on too little sleep, perhaps due to not being able to take advantage of the sleep cycle that suits me best. I read this article a few months back on a sleep study observing patterns of sleep and think of it too often, check out the whole thing, but here’s a sample.
In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month.
It took some time for their sleep to regulate but by the fourth week the subjects had settled into a very distinct sleeping pattern. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before falling into a second four-hour sleep.
Two sleeps? That’s exactly what I need. I think of when I function the best… and when I hardly function at all. When able to create my own schedule, I find myself staying up past midnight only to awake around or just past sunrise- prime birding time. I have this terrible habit of being the last one to sleep and the first to awake. Frustrated knowing that I didn’t sleep as much as I should, I try to force my self back to sleep- this only results in having to experience the most disturbing of dreams. Sometimes I’m awake and functioning for a couple of hours, reading or cleaning, thinking…just being awake. Sometimes after a couple of hours I scold myself for being awake before I “need” to be up and then I find myself feeling exhausted between 9-11am. Other times I make it through those hours only wanting to crash between 1-4pm. I am reminded of wandering the streets in Argentina, wishing I could eat lunch somewhere but alas- everything was closed between lunch and dinner. They’ve got it right. I should have been napping.
With the leaves transitioning into their fall hues, I find myself anxious for adventure. Around me all of the creatures will begin to prepare for migration and hibernation. And I wonder what it must be like to sleep most of the cold season away. Tempting as it may be, and many of us struggle to not be dormant during harsh winters- hiding under piles of blankets, instead I am already thinking of ways to stay active during our winter. No hibernation, and this year no migration to the South.
I type out my thoughts into this post, a reflection of what filters through my mind each night. Rather I lay awake thinking of what adventures I can complete before the snow blankets the forest floor. How many times can I jump in the river before the days grow short? Already searching for those perfect winter hikes- Pennsylvania/ West Virginia mountain hikes this season Let’s see how long I can stay in one place. But before the snow falls I have a to escape for a fall backpacking adventure in the wilderness and a quick bike tour to DC from Pittsburgh. As you will find other animals preparing for our next season, accomplishing all that needs to be done- September will also find me filling each day in preparation or in action whether it be thoughts or hikes or sleeping under the night sky, breathing in that September air.