On working weird hours, seeing beautiful sunrises and needing more sleep


The sky is overcast at 5 p.m. It’s a Monday. I am ready for bed.

This 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. shift I work is the worst on Mondays.

If my sleep cycle were controlled by a stick shift, I’d compare it to an old VW bus with a bad clutch my friend used to drive.

Switching from normal people weekend hours down to going to bed at 7 or 8 p.m. for week days is grinding my gears and causing me to stall out by noon.

I worked weekends for three years. I decided I needed a change.

I told myself I could do this. I thought it would be easy.

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I’m realizing I can endure this shift at best.

The hours drain everything out of me. I never get enough sleep, even on weekends because I’m afraid if I sleep too late I won’t go to bed early enough on Sunday.

I never do.

I sacrifice shuteye on Tuesdays for an early evening run, think 6:30 p.m., with friends. I have “old people dinner” with my girlfriend at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

I’m pretty sure I’m experiencing a modest amount of depression. By 8 a.m. on most days of the work week, I’m ready  to run screaming from my desk.

I still have 5 work hours to go.

By noon, I want a nap.

Outside of Tuesdays, I usually force a run outdoors after my shift. The exercise wakes me up enough to go home, eat, and perhaps be mildly productive with the rest of my day. Then there is the struggle to go to sleep at 6:30 p.m. to the summer symphony of bird tweets, lawnmower engines, and bicycles racing down streets.

How does a person not wake up tired at 3 a.m.?

Strangely though, I don’t mind the solitude of the early drive to work. I have the road and the world mostly to myself.

I hate to break it to you large groups of people, I don’t trust you. You collectively make bad decisions. Too many of you in one place together make me nervous.

But the sunrises! I get to see them all.

I keep filming them on my phone, when I remember. I even strung a few of them into this time lapse video on YouTube just to try my hand at some elementary video editing:

Very amateurish at this point, but still kind of pretty. Only so many mornings in a lifetime sort of thing.

But the sleep. Damn. I’d love just couple more of hours sleep to knock the cobwebs out of my head so I could do more of the work and things I like to do without the whining and the yawning and the main lining all the coffee to grease the gears and keep the system going.