If You Go to Bed Very Late

For many (and I mean, MANY) years, I had this very debilitating habit of going to bed after 4 am. And here somebody explains beautifully why I kept doing that:

I wonder whether staying up too late is this kind of neurotic suffering. I invented the practice at my first job, where the only time I felt safe was after I got home from work, and I wanted to extend the number of safe hours I had. I resurrected it here because the avoidance of a large part of the disappointing days, and the extension of the night-space in which one could be anywhere, made my indenture to the rural suburb and subjection to a breathtakingly unprofessional workplace less immediately obvious.

And for people who suffer from this problem for the same reason as described in the previous quote, here is a solution:

That isolated feeling. The only answer is to create an R1 bubble around oneself and live in it. This takes some effort.

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

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7 comments on “If You Go to Bed Very Late

  1. Oh yes! I am just figuring this out about myself. In my case, it’s partly related to working too many hours – I feel I have to stay up late to make up for what I’m “missing” spending at work. Yet, I can tell that however few hours I work, I’ll still feel this impulse to stay up and get something more out of the day. So right now a major mental health goal of mine is actually just to do something in normal human hours, enjoy having done it, and then get enough sleep.

    It’s amazing how much we make ourselves suffer when the answers are so easy

    • It is very esoteric. An R1 is a research-1 university, one heavy on research and that promotes it. I feel isolate cut off from that atmosphere and I have to essentially imagine it thickly, so that I can be the person I need to be to get high level writing done.

  2. This is very insightful and explains to me why going to bed early and getting up early has paradoxically always been easiest for me in my holidays. Not wanting to go to bed is probably a symptom of being unhappy or unfulfilled with one’s daylight existence and compensating at night. Very interesting.

  3. I also find that once you do it once or twice, which is easy just because there is a great movie on or the book you are reading is soooo good that you can’t put it down, it’s easy to then take a nap in the day so that the next night you genuinely AREN’T as tired at bedtime so you kind of convince yourself that it is fine to go to bed a little later… and then there you are punishing yourself and messing everything ELSE up because you’ve learnt to sleep at non-normal times and not at normal times but you have to do stuff at normal times (all normals are in heavy quotation marks there).

    I have always found that I function best on what we think of here as a more mediterranean sleep schedule, going to bed late and sleeping maybe 5-6 hours at night, then having a 2-3 hour sleep in the early afternoon. NOT compatible with northern European working norms! Is that really how people function in hot climates?

    • “Is that really how people function in hot climates?”

      Check out the night market in Amman, Jordan — it’s the local solution to the problem of a very hot daytime. There are also several of these markets in the Philippines, where the problem of a very hot daytime can be more pronounced because of high humidity.

      I’ve lived in places where despite having a reasonably windy tropical climate, it’s simply easier to do things when it’s dark. Fortunately where tourists are involved, this turns into a reasonable adjustment — they’re winding down when your energy’s still fairly level, so they’re not quite so much in your way.

      There’s a clever version of this in some cities — late-night shopping is done on Thursday night/early Friday morning so you’ve got it done well in advance of the post-work bingers who clog up everything on Fridays and Saturdays. It’s regarded as normal, rather than as being somehow socially avoidant, simply because you can run into your friends who are like-minded about this sort of thing.

      I’d rather be in a twenty-four hour city, one where the local denizens don’t roll up the streets around 2000 or even earlier. Maybe I need to get ILR status somewhere like Shinjuku. Is Melbourne twenty-four hour now? That would be nearly ideal. :-)

      I remember popping around to the bookshop on Stureplan in Stockholm once, figuring that I’d picked a reasonable time to visit, only to see that the sign said that the shop had closed two hours earlier, while it was still light outside. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that sort of thing — I fully understand your comment about Northern Europeans.

      I decided in the end to create my own time zone where I live in a sort of temporal commuter’s version of Solaris …

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get some rest — I’m sure it’s bed time somewhere else in the world where I am not. :-)

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