Circadian rhythm, as everybody knows, is the biomedical term for the body clock: that thing inside your brain that responds to your daily habits and schedules, accordingly, what time to release sleep hormones and what time to withhold them and release wakefulness hormones instead.
Some people have a circadian rhythm that makes them sleepy at night and wakeful in the morning. The biomedical term for such people is Normal.
Some people have a circadian rhythm that makes them sleepy in the day and wakeful at night. The biomedical term for these people is deejays.
No, watchmen sleep all day AND all night. As everybody knows.
My own circadian rhythm is— to put is as succinctly and precisely as I can — all fucked up. It is so irregular and unreliable that I have resorted to the vastest generalisation when describing it. I say, “I don’t sleep” when I am asked.
Going to sleep is not the simple, easy, process of slowly winding down and shutting off. You people fall asleep. I dig my way into sleep. It is a struggle that comes with effort and exertion.
I can’t even begin to describe it. Imagine being told to lie still. But instead of your arms falling limp by your side, you find them flexing, hard and tight, by your side.
That is what my brain seems to do.
I tried everything. Including the thing you are going to suggest and, though it does relax me, it also just makes me more wakeful.
But at least there are the drugs. At least those get me through the night.
Yes, I found out where I can score valium. It isn’t supposed to be sold without a prescription, and I know this makes me a drug abuser, but what do you want me to do? If I don’t sleep through the night, then the circadian rhythm will decide to start shutting me down at three in the afternoon.
When the work is piling up (contrary to what you may believe, I am an extremely busy person with a lot a lot a lot to do) the eyelids start to droop. One by one. My moustache begins to tingle and soon I am yawning at a rate of four a minute. Then even though I am mobile and upright, my short-term memory and concentration are gone. Like part of me is asleep. Have you ever experienced that thing where you call a phone number and then forget who you called?
Of course you haven’t. Because you actually sleep on nights.
I have been sleeping relatively better for the past month or so. A combination of various approaches: Valium, piriton and chamomile tea. But you’re right. I need to stop abusing drugs. I need to develop a natural circadian rhythm.
So I am going to try, starting today, to sleep naturally. And if sleep doesn’t come, I stay awake all night. If the 3:00pm stupor strikes, I will take a powernap or chew coffee or get fired. Wish me luck. I’ll tell you how it goes.