My sleep schedule has been so fundamentally whacked since we got here that I’m not sure it is really fair to attribute it to jet lag. Wikipedia says I should allow myself one day per time zone crossed, which would be a full week, to recover, but I still think there is more to it than just time zone funnies.
Because if this were just adjusting to moving seven hours in the future, wouldn’t I just be sleepy when it was seven hours past when I’m normally sleeping? Nope. I’m basically tired during all daylight hours; completely, bone-deep exhausted by 9PM (Which is 3:00PM in Pittsburgh or 2:00PM in St. Louis, our place of departure!); and completely wide-eyed and ready to take on the world it is too dangerous to go out in at 2:00AM.
So I think there is more to it than jet lag. Suspected exacerbating factors?
- We don’t have any clocks. Our computers and cell phones are our time-keeping devices, and we’ve obviously been using those MUCH less frequently than normal. None of the appliances in the kitchen have time-keeping devices and we’re certainly not going to use one of our precious outlets for a clock. Time to get a battery-operated time piece, STAT!
- 24-hour time is the norm. When my Pick N Pay receipt says it is 15:31, it might as well be telling me it is half past a cucumber. I realize all I have to do is subtract 12 from the hour to know what time in the afternoon it is, but my mental math reserves are entirely depleted by dividing the prices of everything by 7 and trying to remember if I need a jacket when it is 15 degrees outside.
- It is suddenly fall again. And we live really far South, globally, not to mention due East of a ginormous mountain, so the sun sets alarmingly early.
- Witches come out at night. When a friend of mine did her Peace Corps term in (rural) South Africa, she was told to stay in at night or the witches would get her. “Witches” is, I believe, a regional euphemism for people who will rob you and/or rape you. I don’t really know how safe it is to walk around at night, which is a subject for its own post, but I do know that everyone is telling us not to (several people have strongly suggested we not walk around during the day, which we have ignored, but that suggests we should be a little bit more cautious about night time driving). Anyway, when your nighttime activities begin at 5:00PM and are confined to your apartment, you get, well, bored by nine o’clock or so. You’ve already watched a movie and had some wine and engaged in marital congress and you just… run out of stuff to do, so you go to bed. And then of course you wake up a few hours later because your body thinks it is mid-afternoon, sleep fitfully all night, and spend the next day bone-deep tired.
I’ll adjust, in time, I’m sure, like with everything else. Meanwhile, I’ll try to enjoy the extra opportunities to catch my friends in the states online.