Tag Archives: Sleep

Daylight Stupid Time

There has been a lot of talk about Daylight Savings Time lately, but I only have one question: Who does a guy have to bribe around here to get rid of it? [political snark] I’m looking at you, Kathleen Wynne [/political snark]

The concept of DST has been around for centuries, with one notable Englishman pushing for it quite heavily at the turn of the century (the previous century, for all you millennials thinking about 15 years ago). It wasn’t until WWI, in an effort to conserve energy and keep people from wasting those precious early daylight moments, that it established a stronghold on Europe and North America.

Every year around this time articles start popping up about the effects of DST on the people. Trust me, it’s a real thing. I’ve been suffering from insomnia for years and am basically a (reasonably) high functioning idiot. Anyone with children also knows what kind of havoc DST can have on a sleep schedule, but it’s more than just about giving up an hour of sleep. Daylight Savings Time is almost 100 years old. This concept was conceived before there was widespread electric light and it was propped up by an energy crisis more than 40 years ago. If there’s a better example of doing something “because that’s the way it was always done” I have yet to find it. It’s archaic, and it’s pathetic.

I used to think it needed to be an all or nothing sort of thing but take a look at this map:

Wikimedia Commons

Blue represents places that use DST and red the places that never have (and presumably never will). The orange parts are all the places that used to implement DST but chose to stop. So it can be done. It HAS been done – many times – and even from states / provinces / territories within the same country, and regions within those!

We are beyond needing that daylight to save coal or “conserve energy”. The world has fantastic ways of conserving energy ALL THE TIME, not just at some ungodly hour of the morning. And don’t tell me that the golfers like it because they can play longer. No one gives a shit about whether or not they can get in 4 more holes. No one.

“It will cost so much to fix it!” people will say. No it won’t. Estimations for what DST costs us every year are astronomical. Plus, anywhere that uses it already has mechanisms in place to handle switching it back and forth. Just “forgetting” to keep switching it is a trivial exercise when you compare it to something like, oh I don’t know, changing the dates on which the change occurs.

So what’s the problem? Why can’t we change? It’s as if there is a collection of nations out there all getting dressed in the morning and putting on the latest trend in clothing and calling each other to make sure their outfit meets with everyone’s approval. International time management powered by peer pressure. At this point there’s a greater chance the United States will switch over to the metric system, but that’s a rant for another day.

All I know is I want it to stop.

Please make it stop.

Just stop.

~ Andrew

You Are Getting Sleeeeeepy…

I have suffered from insomnia for about four years now. If anyone out there has even gone a few nights without a good night’s sleep you know how debilitating it can be. I spent the greater part of 18 months without more than a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep each night and I was basically a high functioning zombie.

There was no shortage of people willing to impart their advice on the situation either:

Have you tried this?
Yes, it did not work.

Have you tried that?
Yes, it did not work.

Have you been to a sleep study?
Yes, twice. They prescribed me medication. It sort of worked but I had to take two pills every day.

Yes, hmm indeed.

I sleep really well. Always have. I can sleep anytime anywhere. It’s awesome.
I’m sure it is. I’ve even gone to a six week information/instructional on how to sleep!

Really? They have classes for that?
Yes, and I fell asleep in the last lecture.

Now that’s irony at its finest.

Have you tried…

Well, you get the idea by now I’m sure. At any rate, what does this have to do with anything? I’ll meander y’all to the point in just a second, I promise.

The key to sleep in humans is melatonin. The only word to describe this stuff is “magical”, so naturally one of the things I tried was some melatonin supplements. I tried 0.5mg and later 0.25mg and I might have well been taking sugar pills. My non-expert opinion was that this was because it wasn’t naturally occurring. You see, tryptophan metabolizes into seratonin; and if it’s dark out it’s further metabolized into melatonin, and that’s the stuff that promotes sleep. Just plunking the melatonin in directly didn’t seem to be working.

So, enter in this stuff called ZenBev®. Sounds like new age hippy juice, right? Well it sort of is. I call it my magic pumpkin powder. It’s basically powdered tryptophan made from pumpkin seed flour. The myth of the tryptophan loaded turkey dinner is partially true, only turkey has about as much of it as any other meat and three times less than dried egg white and about half as much as dried pumpkin seeds (if you care, the winner by a mile is Alaskan sea lion).

Sea Lions Up Close courtesy Liz Noffsinger at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net 

Again, you may be asking, what does this have to do with anything? Fine, I’ll get right to it then. Thanks for sticking with me so far (hopefully still awake, though after first re-read of this post I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve nodded off).

I tried ZenBev® and I immediately started sleeping better. Not more, but better. Same number of hours of sleep at night but I wasn’t falling asleep at my desk at 3:00 every afternoon. The really awesome part though was that I started dreaming again. I’ve probably had less than a handful of dreams in the last four years and after two weeks on this magic pumpkin powder I’m dreaming five or six nights a week, and let me tell you, after going so long without recognizing that I’d had a dream this current influx has me discombobulated to say the least. It’s not quite Jacob’s Ladder crazy, but I have got to say it’s really something.

After a couple weeks of getting some better sleep I’ve felt the urge to be creative again. November was a bit crazy with NaNoWriMo and a work project is bringing some high stress moments at my day job so the first week of December wasn’t much from a creativity standpoint. A couple weeks of dreaming though and my brain itching for creation again, and that’s a good thing. I’m also starting to figure out what The Beatles were talking about in their song I Am The Walrus.

I am the egg man.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sc0L1UoO1M?rel=0]

~ Andrew