Not everything is a disease… or even a problem

I was reading an article over at the Huffington Post about the problems people have staying asleep (you can find it here if you are interested). It offers some sensible suggestions, and a number of dire warnings about depression, bipolar disorders and underlying conditions… the one thing the article doesn’t do is  mention the one that, in my experience, works best: don’t panic, listen to your body (this may take some tinkering with your schedule), sleep when your body tells you it’s tired, wake up when you are rested, and you will be just fine… even if you are waking up in the middle of the night and sleeping at what most people deem to be odd hours.

Let’s face it: we live in an environment that has imposed a rhythm on our lives that at times feels totally unnatural. In fact in quite a few countries taking an afternoon nap (the famous siesta) is part of the daily routine, and it makes sense.

Now, I realize that as a writer I am privileged in that regard. I can arrange my schedule in any way I want. That means that I can go to bed, sleep for three or four hours, wake up in the middle of the night –when no one is around– and work for three or four hours without interruptions, and then I can go back to sleep for a couple more hours. After that, more often than not I can take a long nap after lunch. Doing that I am perfectly rested throughout the day, and I don’t even own an alarm clock.

I am not advocating such a schedule for everyone, but it works for me, and that is precisely the point. Just the fact that your body complains when you try to browbeat it into submitting to a schedule that doesn’t suit it is not a sign of an underlying medical condition. It is a sign that we live in an artificial environment that ignores the body’s natural rhythm, and if you find a way to work around that particular problem you may soon come to the realization that there is nothing wrong with you at all.

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