How NOT to Stay Awake at Odd Hours

I’m one of those unlucky shift workers whose day doesn’t really line up with much of anything. Wanna get up early before work and write? Well, that’s gonna mean about two in the morning. Wanna go out with friends? Ooopsy. That event doesn’t start until late. You know. Six or seven at night.

But worst of all are the days off.

Exactly when did sleeping until five or six in the morning become sleeping in? And if I sleep until eight? Well, that’s the equivalent of a normal person sleeping past noon.

If I want to stay on a schedule, and get work done, I need to get up at a regularly scheduled time, every day of the week. That seems like a reasonable goal, anyway. And exactly what time gets me up in time to write before work on the days I work, and stay consistent on days that I don’t?

Two o’clock in the morning.

That’s just offset enough that the bars have closed, and the grocery store hasn’t opened. And who’s awake at that hour? Not even farmers and owls.

I don’t actually have that much trouble on workdays. I have an hour or so to entertain myself, eat, and get to work. Usually, I leave the house with my first page written.

It’s those other days. The ones when nobody’s expecting me, and I have a nearly infinite amount of time before anything opens. The days when I’m tired, and nothing else is moving? Yup. Those are the days when I open my eyes, look around and… nope.

So, here are a few things that will not keep you awake at two in the morning:

  • Writing a novel. You’d think it would. This is the one that actually gets me up at two in the morning. But, as it turns out… this might be one of those things where consistency comes before actual output. Can’t write a novel, if you’re asleep. When do I actually write? Uhm… closer to bedtime, and knee-deep in a panic.
  • Shopping. The obvious downside to this is that you wind up spending money. The not-so-obvious downside is that if you’re not spending money, you’re flipping through endless pictures of duvet covers, all of which are colored more or less like a preserved lung floating in alcohol.
  • Tracking those packages cross country. Yes, my package did leave California at 1:31…. 1:33… 1:44… and, uhm… 6:16 in the morning, and yes, that does keep me awake… but not in a good way.
  • Watching documentaries on TubiTV. Plus side? I now know way more about 20th century European politics than I did before. Downside? I have a song about “Super Fragile Masochistic Bob” stuck in my head. (What? It’s a highly educational documentary about a plucky young man overcoming Cystic Fibrosis to become the world’s leading S&M performance artist.) (No, I don’t have any idea how many S&M performance artists there are. YOU count.)

Don’t worry. I still have a few more things to try before I go back to hard work and discipline.


    • Reply

      Seemed to work for him. He lived about twice as long as the “average” patient… but I’m sure the medical community is going to insist on more research before they start recommending it. 😉

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