experience narrative

Day 2 - Candles, Neighbors, and Toast

I go to bed in 2 hours. That's really weird to me. I can't remember the last time I went to bed before midnight if I wasn't sick or going to Disneyland the next day. In preparation for the segmented sleep section of this experiment, I made a log of sunrise and sunset, and added some extra details (length of night, how long I might be awake in between, etc). 

Segmented Sleep Log - estimations 

Segmented Sleep Log - estimations 

I was surprised to discover that the time the sun sets doesn't change much. As you can see, it only varies by about 2 minutes the entire 20 days. If you want a more detailed report of sunrise and sunset in Atlanta, click here

So how did it go? 

It went better than I expected. As I stated in the last entry, I have a hard time falling asleep because I have so much energy. But I've been reading that a lot of that may have to do with light. And even though I bashed a little on yesterday's article, it turns out that the recommendation that you turn your computer off because it reduces your melatonin. As if I need that at night. Here's a little clip of the advice:

So I didn't turn my lights on as the sun began to set. Instead, I lit a few candles I picked up the day before and did some reading in my favorite spot in my house. It was really relaxing. But I learned something that seems like it shouldn't be surprising - sunset does not equal darkness. I'm guessing that the assumption that people went to sleep with the sun was not exactly literal. So instead of going to bed at 8:50PM, as planned, I waited until almost 9:30PM for darkness. I closed my blinds, did all the before bed stuff (including setting several alarms with low tones), and climbed into safety. 

And then my neighbors decided to have a screaming match. I mean holy cow. Tonight?? This is not one of those neighbor situations where it's normal that they scream and yell and slam doors very often, so when they do, it makes me kind of nervous. I even heard someone slap someone else through the floor - yes - these were my downstairs neighbors. Suffice it to say, it took a while to get my heart rate down once one of them finally stormed out. 

I chose to wake up at 12:30 with a very subtle alarm called "Neon." I chose 12:30 for several reasons:

1. I had zero idea what I would want to do when I woke up. 12:30 is early enough that I could go out and get a beer, or a late night snack. Also, I live on the east coast, so I could still call a friend on the west coast and chat on the phone. 

2. I didn't want to 1/2 and 1/2 the night because it is difficult for me to wake up and get out of bed in the morning. I wanted to give myself that extra hour to snuggle in. 

The alarm went off and I got up - and it was really easy. It wasn't AT ALL like the morning when I'm like "nope. No. I don't want to get out of bed... 5 more minutes.... Self!" But I got right up, lit all the candles in my house - sticking with the no bulbs theme - and made some toast. I didn't know what else to do. I made toast and I read a magazine article. It was incredibly pleasant. I stayed awake for about an hour and a half - I did do a little facebook checking on my phone, I admit. But the screen didn't seem to affect my ability to go back to sleep. 

It took a little bit, but probably not more than 10 minutes, to get back to sleep and I slept until the morning. My 6:27AM alarm went off - this one's called "Argon," and I did NOT pop out of bed like I did after First Sleep. I hit snooze a bunch until I started to feel guilty. When I was awake, I reopened the blinds so the morning light could get in. As I learned from sunset - sunrise does not mean lots of light. I actually got up closer to 7:30AM - even though by then it was totally daylight out. So much for the cool morning run I had planned. It gets too hot to outdoor run pretty quickly here.

My findings so far: 

This is way easier than I thought it would be. 

I am also taking a few notes as I wonder things and I'll leave you with 2 questions:

1. Might segmenting sleep make me more aware of my own sleep/REM cycles? 

  • I ask this because during First Sleep, each time I went through a REM cycle, I began to wake up, and I checked the clock to see how close I was to 12:30AM. Each time, I knew that I had cycled.

2. So far, I find I'm motivated to do fun things like read a novel and eat toast, rather work on anything. I also wished I had a glass of wine. Will this persist through the experiment? 

I guess we'll just have to wait and find out...