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Night into day

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Night into day

/ 03:39 AM May 15, 2016

Time zones are getting blurred. Naps are no longer only during siesta time. I have just wakened up from one that lasted from 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. It was a misplaced nap and a slow wake for me, fin, by fin, by fin, until I am swimming on my bedspread. I plan to get up soon and write. It is a good intention. But it could begin way past midnight.

What turned night into day? Most people these days, I note, work at night. And I don’t mean just call center folk. The young boys and girls who partner with my grandsons and work in my sala (which they use as their office) always come at nightfall. Depending on the computer work they have to do, they go home between one and two or three a.m. Maybe four, I do not know.

Who readjusted the world clock? The blue light that streams from the computer, I am explained patiently, works like the sun—it keeps people from thinking of sleep. In fact, any bright light does—computer, tablet, cell phone. It disturbs the circadian rhythm of one’s internal body clock that regulates the biological process in a 24-hour cycle. It upsets the group of cells in the brain that ensures that certain body functions work in harmony with definite sleep and wake cycles.

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This so-called circadian rhythm of the body automatically sends signals to the brain in the morning for hormones (like cortisol) to raise body temperature that helps the body to wake up. In the evening it is the opposite. The cells signal the body to lower temperature and produce hormones like melatonin to help the body go to sleep.

The circadian rhythm of the body is normally “a clock-dependent alerting process during waking hours.” This basically means that one’s body produces hormones that cause one to feel alert during certain hours of the day as set by one’s internal body clock. Trying to sleep during these times leads to poor sleep quality since you are essentially fighting your body clock.

It is, therefore, advised that one avoid bright lights in the evening, which includes bright light from electronic devices like computer, tablet and cell phone. Also to stay away from caffeine and alcohol, which initially encourage drowsiness, but full alertness soon afterwards. They are a stimulant, not a depressant, unless purposely taken in knockout proportions.

I remember myself scolding my children once upon a time for staying up late: “It’s almost midnight!” Now look who’s awake until 2 a.m.

There is an infinite amount of activities to distract oneself with after 12. The meals are done. It is cooler and presumably tasks are finished. From 10 to 11 there are endless TV channels to choose from. One can download movies, computer games or be entertained by the tablet—studying serious art, collections of gowns or jewelry or reviews of plays, etc.

We keep up blogs and attend to correspondence, Google endless information from the Internet like menus of restaurants locally and abroad, and interesting information on places to visit whether in the coming summer or in one’s dreams. More importantly, the Internet provides information from all over the globe, day or night, about opportunities for work or doing business.

The change keeps young people, including nubile girls, wandering wide awake and even in the streets at night. Now what do mothers think about that? Nothing anymore, I presume. Because night has long ago become day.

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TAGS: circadian rhythm, Cortisol, internal body clock, Internet, Literature, melatonin, nocturnal habits, Senior, Time Zones, writing
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