I just finished watching a video of German chronobiologist Till Roenneberg talking about ‘Social Jet Lag’. He says our bodies are designed to sleep and wake with the sun and we’re ruining our health staying up too late to play and rising too early to work.
Every other terrestrial animal on the planet operates according to the sun so I suppose it makes sense we would too. On the other hand, those animals don’t have a local NBA franchise in the playoffs with games finishing around midnight. Nor do they have bosses that don’t accept, “I’m tired” as a reason to come in late to work.
Mankind’s made a lot of progress over the past few millennia, moving from primitive cave dwelling, story telling social groups to house living, TV watching, Facebookers. In our ancient days we rose when our bodies were fully rested…or a bear wanted his home back. Now, thanks to the brainchild of an ancient Greek invention the clepsydra, we get up to an external prompt that has no regard for our sleep needs. While this isn’t conclusive evidence that the alarm clock lead to progress I think is makes a good case that ancient Greeks were masochists.
Till’s thoughts about our sleep habits and their undesirable effects weren’t new to me. I’ve had those same feelings every weekday morning since first-grade. I’d have had the feelings a year earlier but my mother enrolled me in afternoon half-day kindergarten back before experts realized a small child left to play for most of the day would suffer great mental decay and cause the eventual educational backsliding of our great nation…but that’s a topic for another article.
The single greatest torture in my life isn’t having the metabolism of a sloth or male pattern baldness, it’s waking up to an alarm clock five-sevenths of my days. There’s no sound so sweet, not even a child’s laugh, I wouldn’t grow to hate if it woke me from a dead sleep day after day. Pavlov’s dog may have salivated at the sound of a bell, but I just groan, roll over and doze for nine more minutes.
Love is the culprit. If I were independently wealthy I could sleep to my heart’s (and body’s) content. But this silver-spoon lifestyle I’ve chosen doesn’t pay for itself. All the daily eating and shelter from the weather I enjoy doesn’t come cheap. And since I chose to marry for love, not money, here I am. It was a good choice but if I’m ever in the market for another wife I’ll shop for a rich woman, preferably with a weak heart and no beneficiaries.
Barring a lottery win, a radical shift in hours at my current workplace or an unforeseen inheritance from a long lost uncle, I’ll continue to experience the daily torture of the buzzer. It’s a great life, I just wish it started a few hours later. Tragically, the alarm clock is killing me, just thought I’d mention that.