Beating the Brain

“Well,” said Riho with a yawn as the episode of Lost ended and I emerged from behind my cushion, “I’m going to bed.”

I looked at him in disbelief. “How can you possibly be tired?” I asked, gesturing outside. “It’s still broad daylight!”

“Ye-esss…” he replied slowly, “but it’s also midnight.”

This country is really messing with my brain. Granted, it does eventually start to get dark shortly after midnight, but it’s still difficult to convince your body that it’s time to sleep when the sun has only just set. By the time I feel tired enough to sleep, it can be three or four in the morning, when the sun has acually risen again following its brief nap. Clearly this plays havoc with my ability to get up in the mornings, which, let’s be honest, was never that spectacular to begin with. Never mind the fact that it’s been wet and thundery for the last couple of days, resulting in an utterly confusing situation whereby it is dark during the day and light through the night.

“I’m trapped!” I groaned today as I stumbled blearily into the kitchen at 2pm. “The only way out of this is to force myself to get up at a reasonable time in the morning, and make myself stay awake until about 10pm. And I can’t. I can’t!”

Riho, as always, had a solution. “You could just go right through,” he suggested cheerfully. “It might take a couple of days, but you’ll get there.” He is right. It is much better than trying to get up in the morning and survive on a few hours of sleep. Instead, I will stay up as late as I possibly can, go to bed in the morning, get up in the evening, and repeat the process for a few days, going to bed later and later in the day until eventually I am doing so at a respectable time. It makes perfect sense. And then, when I am back to ‘normal’, I will make my 2-day journey to Lyon and mess everything up again.

I’ve even been avoiding coffee for an entire week now, fearing that it was adding to the insomnia, and also blaming it for my skin problems and various other issues. However, I am currently on my fourth delicious cup of the day, having been cheered up quite considerably by reading this over at Ed’s. Hooray! Coffee not only helps, it stops you from dying! And so I will drink my Gevalia Bistro Mörkrost in a completely guilt-free manner, stay awake all night, and perhaps go exploring in the early hours of the morning, when all of Tallinn is asleep.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: coffee helps.

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8 thoughts on “Beating the Brain

  1. I know how you feel! It doesn’t start to get dark here in Paris until well after 10pm, which may not sound bizarre to you, but having spent the last 7 years in the southern United States, it’s a bit of a shock to my system.

    p.s. Did you know that coffee is actually the # 1 source of antioxidants in the American diet?

  2. billybrid says:

    The reason you can’t sleep when it’s bright outside is that light supresses melatonin production, and melatonin is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Spot the psycholgoy student!! So, I suppose, if you can trick your brain into thinking it’s dark, you might be able to get back to normal…maybe…

  3. Croque-Camille – I’d forgotten how surprised I was when I visited Nashville a couple of summers back and it got dark in what seemed (to me) like the early evening! And merci for the excellent coffee fact. It has been a good day in terms of positive findings about coffee.

    Billybrid – Unfortunately the blackout blinds do not seem to be making much of a difference. Clearly my brain is vastly superior to most brains, and cannot be so easily tricked…

  4. As a child I lived in Norway for a few years and can still remember the ‘midnight sun’ and crouching at my window at 2.a.m., watching squirrels playing by the light of the sun! (It wasn’t a bright light – but it was definately light)!

  5. I lived for a while in a house that only had flimsy blinds and no curtains. It took a while, especially in the summer, to have a good eight hour sleep.But that sounds even worse than my experience.

  6. Billy – that’s the name you used to leave the comment!

    Geri – Oh, I believe you. Dawn begins to happen at about 2am here, too, although sunrise is officially around 4am. I’m not sure how that works, but I’m going down to sit by the sea and watch it all unfold tonight/tomorrow morning.

    d@\/e – I just went with the flow and stayed up all night last night. Whatever. I’m freelance, now, I don’t have to sleep at set times! ;)

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