Saturday, December 4, 2010

All Night

It’s 4:00 AM. Yes, 4 o’clock happens early in the morning too. In fact, in countries using the 24-hour clock system, 4:00 is only in the morning; the other 4 is called 16:00.

Three different times during my media career I was an all night radio DJ. The first time, my all night show played Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd songs for drunks and insomniacs in New Orleans. Years later I had an international network show that played Madonna and Bobby Brown songs in sixteen different time zones, but the biggest concentration of listeners was in central Europe, where my show ended at 4:00 AM. Many of those listeners were also drunks or insomniacs.

My next overnight DJ job involved playing Garth Brooks songs in Washington DC. Some of those up-all-nighters were drunks and insomniacs too, but many listeners were on the job. I learned a few things about the culture of overnight workers and developed a great respect for them. A small sampling of people working at 4 in the morning in the DC area: convenience store clerks, police officers, firefighters, shipping company employees, street cleaners, truck drivers, government workers, road construction crews and security guards.

Most humans, however, are not nocturnal. Our wake/sleep cycles usually conform to day and night. We usually function better in daylight and sleep better at night. My favorite time of day is sunrise. My least favorite? Four in the morning! People who work overnight shifts are at odds with biology and often have lingering sleep issues upon returning to day jobs.

So why am I up right now, at 4 o’clock on a Saturday morning? Partly because I’ve never really recovered from my late night job era, even though it ended 12 years ago. I fall asleep quickly but sometimes the littlest noises can wake me up. It seems that one of my dogs is now on a different time zone that the rest of the world. He sleeps all day but has to go out nearly every hour all night. Even though I’m not one who usually puts him out, the activity surrounding that wakes me up. I usually go right back to sleep but tonight, or should I say this morning, I’m wide awake.

So I checked my email, my Facebook, my blogs, my friends’ blogs, Facebook again (5 FB friends are up too, but two of them live in California, where it’s ONLY 1:00 AM). Then I started writing this post. I hoped this would make me sleepy, but now I’m even more awake than when I started, probably because of the lights in this room. My body thinks it’s sunrise. When the sun actually does rise, in a little over two hours, I’ll probably be sleepy again. Maybe I should just get drunk and play a Garth Brooks CD.

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