Over the weekend I tweeted an article from the BBC that looked into the history of sleep. Apparently there used to be two two distinct periods of sleep. People would go to bed for “first sleep,” wake up for a few hours, and then go back for “second sleep.” Scientists call this segmented sleep. But as the world became more industrialized and artificial lighting improved, there were more and more things to do in the evenings. Eventually people rearranged their schedules and got their shut-eye out of the way all at once.
References to first and second sleep became much less frequent in books and other records, while the new medical descriptions of various sleep disorders began to appear. I wouldn’t look into the sleep disorder aspect too much. I’m sure part of that was just a resurgence in medical science.
Still, it makes you wonder. If two brief periods of sleep are more “natural” than one long period of sleep, could a mileage run be good for you? Think about it. Four hours from Seattle to Houston, then another four hours to Baltimore. And yet I never feel particularly rested after one of those…
This hits home for me because I have a reasonable amount of trouble falling asleep and staying there. Always have. I need complete darkness, complete silence, and hopefully just the right temperature, around 65 degrees. Of course, I get none of those at home because the streetlight shines through the blinds, drunk people come in the apartment building through the door next to my unit, and Megan likes to keep the thermostat at 75.
It isn’t hard to predict that I almost never sleep on planes until after I’ve been up for 36 hours, and even then it’s for just 2-3 hours before something wakes me up again. It’s easier to just stay up, so mileage runs become incredibly productive as long as I don’t need an Internet connection.
I rarely drink coffee, so I don’t think that’s the issue. And I think sleeping pills are a bit risky. Maybe not every now and then, but certainly I wouldn’t want to make them a habit. I’m fortunate to be one of those people who functions pretty well on 5 or 6 hours a night even if more sleep is always better.
I finally broke down and asked my dad for some Ambien to take with me on my mileage run to Bahrain this weekend. I’ll be flying for just over 48 hours, either in a plane or an airport. I’m still annoyed that I haven’t gotten my 1K card, which I’ll need for access to the lounge in BAH, but hopefully United will pull off its usual last-minute approach to providing me with my elite credentials before my trip (which occurs after the expiration date of my sticker). Either that or I can complain for another compensation voucher!
A plea for help from those of you with experience traveling through KWI or BAH since I clearly didn’t bother to plan much before booking this trip:
I assume I don’t need a visa for Kuwait since I’m just passing through. Or at least, their website doesn’t indicate I will. But for Bahrain it does appear I will need to pay a 5 dinar fee (~$12). For the life of me I can’t figure out if I’m allowed to pay for this with a U.S. credit card or with U.S. dollars. Would it be worth it to pay a little extra for the eVisa online? How long does processing take, or is it pretty much instant? I don’t have much time left…
Update: It turns out that for whatever reason my application was denied because I didn’t have a sponsor or an occupation listed. I just went without one and was told not to bother since I didn’t want to exit the airport.