September 23, 2008

To the despair of many parents, it is perfectly normal for human body temperature to fluctuate by several degrees over the course of a 24-hour sleep period. When we are awake and alert, our body temperature rises, and our hunger rises correspondingly. During the deepest part of our sleep cycle, our body temperature plunges.

I have been woken up by needs and drives and thoughts so many times, stiff and very very cold. A few times I have even found myself consciously aware of the temporary and completely normal near-paralysis of deep REM, when the dream was too insistent and the transition from sleeping to waking too sudden. Over time I have learned how to force myself into immediate function, to kick-start the mind without the traditional jolt of caffeine unless the lack of sleep is extreme. I don't have any particular skills in this direction, but necessity has honed what I do have into adequacy.

For the first time in a long time, I woke up today, independently of the alarm clock, feeling warm -- and alert enough to understand why. Now, if only I can manage to keep the working part of the week down to under 100 hours ...

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