Thursday, March 18, 2010

To sleep

Daylight Savings Time drops me into the back country for which I have no map. I am unable to explain why the rearranging of time to be off by an hour becomes the source of havoc. My first guess is that our cells are way smarter than we are, they know to question authority. There is a natural rhythm to life which legislation cannot override.

We adjust without upset to the tilt of the planet, the angle of light, length of night and day, waxing and waning. Here we are in the fifth day of DST and I slept three hours past my normal wake-up time. During the previous days I required additional sleep, also know as a nap, to feel anything like myself and semi-competent. I have no plans to see if there is a grassroots movement afoot to stop the government from telling us it is 7:00 a.m. when it is really 6:00, but if there is, they have my support in spirit.

Sleep in sufficient amounts is necessary for me to hold onto whatever wits I possess. There were years when states of health or of mind made too much sleep desirable. Our bodies, or so I believe, never lie to us. They tell us what they, what we, require to function at optimum levels. Mine makes its demands so clear that I sometimes feel narcoleptic. "Go to sleep NOW."

A nap can resemble a state of grace, a peaceful withdrawal from worldly matters in which we restore ourselves to be of greater service. After decades of full-time jobs, and a frequently too-full life in which there was simply never enough sleep, the gift of napping is a rich reward. Things may not be accomplished because the body has called for time out, yet when the game resumes, the ability to be entirely present seems a fair exchange.

Napping may be genetic. During my childhood, my father came home for lunch every day and part of his lunch break included a nap. It made vacations hellish for us children as we learned to be quiet, to be solitary, to be self-contained; a sort of survival training. The most enduring gift we all took from those silent hours was a love of reading.

There is also a defense mechanism about sleep, again the body speaking emphatically when it has had enough. I was once married to a man who wrote music reviews, focused primarily on rock and roll. We saw bands at clubs, at outdoor festivals, in concert venues. I looked forward to some more than others though I don't remember any that caused me to think I'd rather stay home. But the body knows what it knows and I became a person of questionable worth and taste by falling asleep seeing the Allman Brothers. When it happened again - these were not conscious choices on my part - at AC/DC my outcast status was confirmed. A rebel at heart, I took pride in a vessel that knew we needed to shut down when the volume reached ear-bleed levels. I liken it to a person with nut allergies being given a dish which they swear has no nuts anywhere, yet when his throat closes or vomiting begins...someone has some explaining to do. There are places our minds do not recognize as unsafe; luckily other aspects of the whole are more wise.

As DST approached, I tried to convince myself that it would not disorient me. Positive thinking applied to universal forces - it could work. Yes, and let me stand on the beach and think the tide into submission. We could say I transition slowly, which is not untrue. What is untrue is that my response to this seemingly small upheaval is anything but organic. What I know is this: with three additional hours of sleep, today felt more creative, more joy-based and I, walking through it, felt more centered and capable. I will not think yet of autumn and doing this all over again.


Erin in Morro Bay said...

Let me know if you find out about that grass roots movement to keep time where it belongs. I agree, I find myself out of sinc for a couple of weeks every Spring and every Fall. As a morning person I really resent losing that lovely light at 5:50 AM now and having to wait another 5 weeks or so before I get it back!

Margot Silk Forrest said...

Loved your post, and I think your writing is just beautiful! I am a confirmed napper and have been for about 20 years. A friend who recently retired from a high-stress, low-appreciation career at the Wall Street Journal set a goal for herself for the first weeks of her retirement: 100 naps in 100 days.

Lisa Hoffman said...

Oh!....I'm sorry...what????

Marylinn Kelly said...

To Erin, Margot and Lisa - Thank you for your comments and affirmations. It is always good when I'm actually experiencing something, not just imagining that I am. Where do I sign up for 100 naps in 100 days?

Donna B. said...

Marylinn, you have been tagged by me on my blog today (3-19-10) so check it out if you are interested...hugs :)