In our own backyard...There's no rest for the wearyThere ought to be a law against having the changeover from Daylight Savings time and the full moon fall on the same week.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
There ought to be a law against having the changeover from Daylight Savings time and the full moon fall on the same week. It’s hard enough to adjust your sleep patterns when the time is artificially shifted forward or back by an hour, but when there’s a mega-kilowatt moon shining like the light of day at the same time, it’s downright brutal!
It all started when we set our clocks back a couple of Sundays ago. At first blush, it was heavenly. The daylight had already started to lighten the sky when I first opened my eyes, which was a welcome change from the total darkness of the day before. And of course, we had an extra hour to sleep in that Sunday morning (though actually, I woke up at the usual time and had an extra hour to read the Sunday paper!). By the time we headed out for church, I felt rested and relaxed and I’d read the entire newspaper from cover to cover.
The rest of the day went much the same – until around 4 p.m. Then, the sky outside turned gray and brooding and I wondered out loud if maybe it was getting ready to snow.
“No, it’s just getting dark,” my husband reminded me. “After all, yesterday at this time it was 5 o’clock!”
And sure enough, it was pitch black by the time we sat down to eat dinner, and by the time I finished doing dishes, I was already starting to yawn. It seems that my internal clock is driven not so much by the time on the dial as it is by daylight and darkness. By 8:30 p.m., it had already been dark for three hours and both my husband and I could have easily been persuaded to go to bed!
All week long, it was much the same – I woke with the daylight, and I grew sleepy when the darkness fell. That meant I was awake well before the alarm went off each morning, and I grew drowsy long before the 10 o’clock news each night. It’s just that the rest of the world was telling time by the clock on the wall, and I was forced to abide by it.
I was working my way through the week, feeling drowsy and out of sorts, when I realized that Thursday was the night of the full moon. And as I thought about it, I realized that the earlier daylight each morning that week had been preceded by a lighter-than-usual night sky – the glow of the waxing moon. I groaned inwardly, wondering if I’d sleep at all.
Some people would probably say that I willed myself not to sleep that night, stewing over the light of the full moon and the change in daylight savings time, but whatever the reason, I truly did not sleep well. After considerable tossing and turning, I fell into a restless slumber and then awoke suddenly. My eyes flew open, as though someone had sounded the alarm. As the moonlight streamed in the window and surrounded me with its ambient glow, I figured it must be almost dawn. A look at my bedside clock told me otherwise – it was only 2:30 a.m.! Next to me, my husband thrashed around in the covers and muttered, “Can’t sleep.....”
“I can’t either,” I groaned. “It’s almost bright as day outside, and there is simply no sleep in me.”
We proceeded to have a long conversation as we lay there in bed, hoping we’d get sleepy, but with no results. Then we decided to just lie there silently, hoping we’d just drift off, but that wasn’t happening, either. I debated if I should retrieve my book light and read for a while, but I was afraid it might stimulate my mind too much and I’d never doze off. I wondered what was on TV at that time of night, but I figured that would keep my husband awake if he should be so lucky as to go to sleep before me. I tried praying a long and lofty prayer, which is usually guaranteed to put me to sleep, but I was still wide-eyed and restless by the final Amen.
I tried sleeping on my back, on my stomach and then alternated between my right side and my left. I propped up my two pillows a little higher, and then I threw one of them off onto the floor. I pulled all of the covers up under my chin, only to throw all of them off but the sheet a few moments later.
I mentally planned what to wear the next morning, what I was going to do that day, and what I would have for breakfast after I got up. My stomach began to growl. The moonlight and the ghost of Daylight Savings time were telling me it was light out and time to get up, and the clock was telling me it was only 4 a.m. and I’d better get some sleep. I must have finally fallen into a restless slumber, because I dreamed my husband and I were fishing out on the lake and our big yellow cat, Mufasa, was swimming around the boat and diving for walleyes. Suddenly, I panicked, fearing he might take on too much water and drown. Just as I reached for him, I woke with a sudden jolt.
Mufasa was sitting on my chest, and daylight was just sneaking over the horizon.