Saturday, September 23, 2006

What's Wrong With The Morning?

There are people I know who are adverse to getting up before noon. Since I fade at about 9 p.m., I do not know what time they put their heads down, but I suspect 2 or 3 a.m. My going off so early and their going off so late can't be accidental, but why? It must have to do with diurnal rhythms, acquired or built-in or the result of outside agencies. In the wild realms of nature, we have extreme examples of such rhythms.

The most extreme I can think of is the breeding of the palolo worms in the South Pacific. With precise timing each fall, the adults ready for it simply rise to the surface layers and burst, releasing tons of eggs and sperm, the whole mess a feast for sea predators and marine birds (and humans). Fertilizations take place, of course, nearly all wasted. The successful ones are the survivors, the ancestors of the next go-around.

Another is the return of the swallows to San Juan Capistrano in the spring. Accurate to within a day or so, something moves them to migrate. There are many more examples. So, what about us?

Just as babies become slowly enculturated, necessarily embedded in human groups, we adults are the effects of just such continued multiplied habits and groups of habits. For myself, coming from farm people who had to get up early to accommodate the animals, I was never surrounded by people who were late starters. Also, at one stage I had to get up early to write radio items I was to record later that day.

So, these habits are habits, but how acquired, how transmitted? As I usually do, I'll give it some more thought.


At 1:25 AM, Anonymous Joared said...

This is a spectacular photo. I love seeing a sunrise, but I also love staying up late into the night, or even to the sunrise -- not a very workable combination for very long, especially for some one in their eighth decade, working part time, taking classes. Going to sleep is not a problem, but allowing myself to do so seems to be.

At 12:26 PM, Anonymous larman said...

The CBC podcast "The Best of Ideas" had an excellent program about the nature of sleep and dreams. They dealt with the historical patterns of sleep and how our modern world has changed those patterns. In addition, they divided people into "larks", those who liked to wake up early and whose natural cycle is approximately 23.5 hours and "owls" who dread waking up early and whose natural cycle is approximately 24.5 hours.


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