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Battling the Early Bedtime Syndrome

Going to bed too early can destroy the quality of a night's sleep for some of us. Sleep is a big part of life, so this problem can't be laughed off as a small annoyance. It probably afflicts RV boondockers worse than other lifestyles, since using fewer lights and gadgets tends to shut a person down at night. The Early Bedtime Syndrome is a nexus for several lifestyle issues.

An RV friend, 15 years older than me, once said that he went to bed at 8 pm, and "why not?; it was perfectly natural with the early sunsets in winter". The trouble with that argument is that it's also natural to wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning.

Going to bed too early when camping in town is a dreadful mess, since stores and traffic are still roaring late into the evening, and since you hear everything in an RV.

How did this problem get started in the first place? Blame success. Traffic, wind, dry heat, monsoonal thunderstorms, and wildlife viewing are all good reasons why mornings are drastically better than afternoons for outdoor excursions. As an outdoorsy RVer I learned to make an art out of enjoying morning, years ago. And it worked beautifully, too many days to count. In fact it gradually became an integral part of my lifestyle and self-identity.

That's where the good news ends. After waking up from a brief semi-conscious siesta, my day went downhill all afternoon. By 8 pm I was frustrated, bored, and grouchy. When going to bed early I was already looking forward to starting the next day early in the morning, and as an optimist.

Since I'd showered by noon the dogs never got the serious romp near sunset that most crepuscular animals want. But something clicked when I read a post by one of the blogosphere's most notorious teachers of False Doctrines: bibliophilia, campground sybaritism, iShackle iDolatry, and if that's not bad enough, inappropriate wardrobes.

But there was another reason for not being outdoorsy at sunset: I didn't want to have an emergency as darkness came on! It matters. More next time.

BREAKING NEWS! After staying up to motorhome midnight, or even beyond, for five consecutive nights, I awoke this morning at 0700. It was light out and I was still asleep. It's been years...


Anonymous said…
I too fall asleep very early, usually to the drone of the TV. I find myself eagerly awaiting sunset, both in the summer and winter, and enjoy falling asleep at that time, damned with convention and societal dictates of appropriate behavior. Yes, indeed, I do wake in the middle of the night but I love this as well. There is nothing like the silence and peace that darkness brings. I experience the loud noises of those whose clocks cause them to awaken as the sun goes down as obnoxious and unsacred. At night the moon rules and there is something deep and primal about being aware of the moon's phases. My thoughts and feelings are usually more clearly felt during this special time and I look forward to these dark hours as a way to more honestly check in with myself, my deeper feelings which can be confusing when overly bombarded, a likely occurrence during the activity of the daytime. If I remember a dream, I love to muse on its message. And if there is moonlight streaming through my window, I feel extra lucky and can't imagine a more beautiful and satisfying space to inhabit in this world.
Anonymous said…
I too used to worry about waking up at 2am but apparently it is our normal cycle to sleepl 7pm to 7am with an awake/semi awake period around 2am. In pre-electric days people would read by candle, eat something, have tea or beer with neighbours etc