Sleep

June 24, 2008 at 11:17 am Leave a comment

When I was in my twenties, I worked as a breakfast cook. Once I landed a job at a restaurant that was still under construction. This company actually did some employee training unlike most restaurants where “training” consisted of working with an experienced employee for one or two shifts — if that. But in this company we spent several weeks being thoroughly trained in all aspects of our job at the next closest restaurant of this chain, which was forty miles away and in another time zone.

Another time zone?, you ask. Well, sort of. At that point, I lived in Indiana which had not yet caved to the pressure of adopting daylight saving time and the operational restaurant was in Ohio, which was on daylight saving time. So, there was a difference of one hour between the two locations — Ohio being the earlier time of course.

We had to be at the restaurant at 5:30 each morning for a 6am start. It was a one hour drive from our meeting place in my town to the restaurant. And we had to figure in the time difference. And I had to roll out of bed and drive from my parent’s farm to the rendevous location. So, if you do the math you can see that I was rising at 3am each working day.

The training shift ran from 5:30 to noonish. We drove back and hour, losing an hour in the process, and arrived back at the meet-up point around 2pm. I got back to the farm around 2:15 or 2:20 each day. I was exhausted. And done with work for the day. And no one else was about the house. So, I fell into bed and slept for several hours — usually until 5 or 5:30. Then I would get up and start putting together some dinner for the folks just arriving home from the office or shop.

The most amazing thing about that summer was how great I felt physically, how fresh I always was, how much energy I had. I often stayed up until 11 or even midnight. I grabbed three or four hours of sleep in the early morning hours and I was — although we did not have the expression then — good to go.

Later in life, after having dozed through many afternoon meetings and classes, I recognized that in that summer of restaurant training I had discovered the exact rhythm of my personal biological clock. I work at peak efficiency not with one long block of shuteye overnight but with two long naps. One in the afternoon and one in the early morning.

Now that I’m working mostly from home, I’ve been able to partially re-create this happy state of affairs. With the Kid around I can’t exactly sleep away my entire afternoon. But I am usually able to grab 45 minutes or an hour of blissful shuteye each afternoon. Then I stay up reasonably late and wake up very early — refreshed and ready to go.

Telecommuting is being touted these days on the basis of mileage saved. And that’s certainly a positive. But I think an even more important benefit is the ability for each individual to work out the balance of his or her own life.

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Entry filed under: Piedmont.

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