I was talking to a friend this afternoon about how I am finding time to write so much. I told him, “I write between 2:00 and 4:00…a.m.”

It’s true.

Over the last couple of months or so, I just turn in whenever I get tired, and then, almost every night, I wake up sometime around 1:30 or 2:00 a.m. and stay awake for an hour or two, then doze off again until the alarm. Everything is quiet (naturally) during that span, but I have found myself to be clear-headed and at ease, so it’s been a good time to just pick up the iPad and write. Some of those writings become blog posts immediately or sometime later. (In fact, the next post was written over the last few months, in those dark hours.)

I was a bit weirded out by this whole sleep interruption. I thought it was blood sugar dropping, but it happened no matter what or when I ate (or didn’t eat). I considered temperature shifts, but everything was level. After exhausting all the options, and realizing that I was not tired in the morning, just decided to go with it.

It’s been nice…kinda’ like an extra two hours added to my day.

I remembered this morning (around 3:00) something I had heard on NPR once. Homer (the Greek poet, not Simpson) mentioned “first sleep” and “second sleep” in his works. Similar references are found throughout literature and records from earlier times. The truth is that we naturally revert to this pattern when our rhythms get in sync with the daylight and darkness cycle.

In experiments, researchers have found that when people live solely by natural light, they revert back to this ancient “segmented sleep” pattern and that, chemically, the body in that interval between first and second sleep is “in a state equivalent to what you might feel after spending a day at the spa.” It seems that, thanks to the light bulb, the entire industrialized world is sleeping unnaturally. (entire article here)

Good to know…and fascinating.

I’ll keep enjoying my nocturnal creativity.

On a related note, another poet, Rives, gave his take on being awake during those early hours at a TED talk…

Second Sleep

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