Jun 16, 2008

Early Riser Doctor's Hours

It's not quite 8 a.m.  and I'm already sipping my first cup of coffee over the newspaper. I've been up for two hours and have already walked the dog, visited the bank and done a load of laundry. This isn't like me. Usually I am more of a night owl than a morning person.

I have to admit - a feller could get used to this. Even here in the usually frenetic Fresh pot coffee shop the atmosphere is somewhat austere and quiet. The morning still in it's pristine wrapping of possibility. Since I moved into a basement I have been having trouble getting up in the morning. There is no natural light. Often I would struggle out of bed, in dim darkness, at eleven o'clock in the morning.

I read an article on Slate recommending the use of Melatonin.  My girlfriend has to wake at 6 this week to commute to a job out in the country so we thought we'd give it a try. The key is to take the Melatonin hours before you want to sleep. Like 5. I have tried the stuff before but it didn't seem to do anything. Last night I took it at 7 and by midnight I was conked out like a whack-a-mole. I slept hard. The kind of sleep you usually have to put in 10 hours of manual labour to earn. Kind of weird.

If this stuff allows you to pick your bed time at will then what is the ideal bed time for mankind? What is the best time to wake up? Five ? Too early? Six, seven, eight, nine? They each have benefits and detractions . . .

This all reminds me of my very good friend who once took up what he claimed were "Doctor's Hours". This meant getting up at 4 a.m. I think he went to bed at about 8 p.m. He said he had heard this was the schedule that busy doctor's adhere to although I have never heard of such a thing. Anyhow it seems to have changed his life. He said the mornings were so quiet and still he could get everything that he needed to do done by lunch time and then relax, because " nobody is gonna hassle you early in the morning, everybody just quietly goes about doing their own thing." Which makes sense. I think people don't start to get frazzled until about 2 p.m. or so. The doctor's hours worked, at least for him, he went from being a slacker to getting his homework done, graduating, traveling to Japan, starting a family and getting into law school.

So, what if there is a magic pill that can turn you into an early bird, would you take it?

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