I’ve just got back to Sydney after a really lovely Christmas visit to the UK.
Really lovely apart from the freezing cold weather, my excessive mince pie consumption and, of course, the jetlag.
How rude of me as a house guest to be up and about at 5am then sneaking off for a nap mid-afternoon. But I have the perfect excuse for my inconvenient waking hours and inappropriately timed yawning. After spending an entire day and night on a plane, plus adjusting to the time difference, obviously, I must be jetlagged.
Truth is, my sleep patterns have very little to do with jetlag and almost everything to do with my own life choices. [Click link below to read more...]
There’s just an obstinate part of my brain that insists on going to sleep when I’m good and ready, not when I’m meant to. I’ve been letting that instinct take control for far too long.
Since the very first time I drove home in the early dawn light, after leaving a club at 4am, I’ve always been only too happy to stay up all night and sleep all day.
I’ve chosen to work night shifts at jobs over the years because staying up all night has just always felt nicer than getting up early in the morning. Not to mention there’s still something incredibly naughty about staying in bed all day. Imagine having a valid reason to not get up until teatime!
I truly can’t blame my current jetlag on just one flight, or even just on flights at all. I’ve pretty much been jetlagged constantly since I was eighteen. Have you seen the dark circles under my eyes?
I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m a frequent flyer, but I’ve now travelled between London and Sydney enough times that the flight really feels no more stressful than hopping on the bus into town. Typically I’ve had a busy few days in the run-up to departure, resulting in being fast asleep in my seat before the safety briefing.
I’ll wake up when I hear the rattle of the food trolley. By the time I’ve finished my meal, I’ll be fully awake and ready to start that book I’ve been really looking forward to reading. I’ve been known to choose a book for the flight up to six months before (I might need to get a life). So yes, I will switch on my overhead reading light just as the cabin lights are dimmed for eight hours and the person next to me is making it very clear that they want to go to sleep. I’m the reason airlines hand out light-blocking eye masks.
Fortunately, reading and writing aren’t time-of-day bound activities. In fact, I have some of my best writing sessions in the middle of the night.
On my second night back in Sydney, I managed to surprise even myself by effortlessly being awake all night, then having a solid eleven hours sleep all through the next day. I’m feeling exceptionally good right now, but I should probably sort this nocturnal living pattern out before I go back to work at 9am on Monday.
Nicki Ranger is a freelance writer currently based in Perth, Western Australia.
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