Full Moon Sleeplessness

I couldn’t fall asleep last night for the longest time. I kept flopping around, unable to relax, feeling as if my body no longer fit in my skin. I finally gave up, turned on the light, and finished reading a book. Then I tried again to sleep, and this time I managed it, though I didn’t sleep deeply.

Remembering that the last time this happened was around the full moon, I checked online, and sure enough, tonight is the full moon. I used to think it was the extra brightness the full moon brought to the night that caused the problem, but because of the clouds, it was no brighter than usual last night, so apparently, the full moon itself is the culprit.

I must be more sensitive to such changes now that I am getting older because I don’t remember having this sensitivity problem when I was younger, though it’s possible that my youthful circadian rhythm kept me from being affected. For most of my life, until I moved here, I was on a late-to-bed, late-to-rise schedule, but now I am forced to go to bed a lot earlier than normal because I wake at first light. Because of this attunement to the natural rhythm of light and dark, I didn’t think I’d have a problem with the change to daylight savings time, but it is still an issue. (I go to bed at the same clock time I did on standard time, but I’m not really tired then because the clock says it’s later than it really is.) Combining the clock change with the full moon, a storm that’s forming off to the west, and an aging body, it’s amazing I got any sleep at all.

Luckily, although I’m scheduled to work a couple of extra hours today, the work isn’t onerous. I can also take it easy when my client rests, so the sleep deficit shouldn’t be a problem. At least I hope not. Even luckier, after tonight, the moon is on the wane, so I won’t have to deal with full moon sleeplessness again for another month or so.

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Getting Up Early

I’ve always been rather a night owl. Left on my own without needing to get up early to go to a job, my normal hours were midnight to nine a.m. During the first year I lived here, I kept those hours, finding it amusing that anyone would be awake and alert enough to get to the senior center for exercise at eight. It just seemed so dang early, though I did manage to make it a few times. I also needed to know ahead of time when any workers were planning on coming so I could set my alarm and be up before their eight a.m. arrival.

Then suddenly, for no reason, about the time The Bob made itself known in this country, I started waking at first light. I’d blame melatonin, which regulates one’s circadian rhythms, except that I’ve been taking it for decades without any need to wake early. Even when I wear a sleep mask, the dawn manages to find me and wake me despite the darkness I see behind the mask.

Getting up at five and even before seems bizarre to me, though luckily, the sun is sleeping in a bit later these days, so now I can too. It also seems weird to be able to get so much done before my normal waking hours. Generally, by nine o’clock when I used to get up, I’ve made my bed, folded my daily quota of origami cranes, spent time with my tarot cards, done some stretching exercises, watered my various garden spots, weeded a bit. Then, during the time I’d normally be doing those things, I get other things done. For example, today I went to the library, took a drive (even though the brake warning light is coming on, I figure I need to keep the car in shape), staked some of my tomato plants that somehow became unstaked, and played with my new leaf blower. (I hoped the blower would be strong enough to clear the twigs off my landscape rocks, but it’s so powerful that instead it blows the rocks off the twigs.)

Later, I showered, ate, read, played on the computer, and now I am catching up on my blog. When I’m finished, I’ll be going to work.

It seems that the day is so very long when I get up early, but it isn’t, especially since I conk out early. Last night, admittedly, I stayed up late reading as I always used to, probably because I’d napped in the afternoon, and I did sleep in — all the way until 6:30!

That is so not me — these early hours

Except, apparently, now it is.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator