Helicopters and Hay

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Timothy hay that is.

Every morning I am the first to stir.  Without fail our children’s guinea pigs begin to squeal in excitement.  Weeeeek, weeeeek, weeeeek, weeeek in unison they cry.  They know it is I.  Like Pavlov’s dog they also know that if they make enough noise I will reward them with their breakfast, big fists full of hay that we keep in a large Rubber Maid container on the back porch. (I wonder how Pavlov’s cat would have reacted?)

Sometimes I am completely at a loss for something to write about.  This morning (3:35 to be precise) I am not having that problem.  In fact, my mind is racing.  I woke up to the loud sound of a low flying helicopter that apparently went right over our house.  Most likely it was someone being medevaced (I think that is an interesting word) to the hospital half a mile away.  

Generally once I finally get to sleep I will sleep without being bothered by sounds.  Most likely I was right at the end of a REM when one is most likely to wake up.   I went to bed at 11, so I woke after only 4-1/2 hours of sleep.  Interestingly enough,

“Studies show that the length of sleep is not what causes us to be refreshed upon waking. The key factor is the number of complete sleep cycles we enjoy. Each sleep cycle contains five distinct phases, which exhibit different brain- wave patterns. For our purposes, it suffices to say that one sleep cycle lasts an average of 90 minutes: 65 minutes of normal, or non-REM (rapid eye movement), sleep; 20 minutes of REM sleep (in which we dream); and a final 5 minutes of non-REM sleep. The REM sleep phases are shorter during earlier cycles (less than 20 minutes) and longer during later ones (more than 20 minutes). If we were to sleep completely naturally, with no alarm clocks or other sleep disturbances, we would wake up, on the average, after a multiple of 90 minutes–for example, after 4 1/2 hours, 6 hours, 7 1/2 hours, or 9 hours, but not after 7 or 8 hours, which are not multiples of 90 minutes. In the period between cycles we are not actually sleeping: it is a sort of twilight zone from which, if we are not disturbed (by light, cold, a full bladder, noise), we move into another 90-minute cycle. A person who sleeps only four cycles (6 hours) will feel more rested than someone who has slept for 8 to 10 hours but who has not been allowed to complete any one cycle because of being awakened before it was completed.”

So since I couldn’t sleep anyway . . .  I thought I would sit down and capture some of my many thoughts for future posts.  As a bipolar person it seems as though I am more at the mercy of the cycles our species has evolved with:  Circadian rhythms, menstrual cycles, and the gravitational pull of the moon during different times of the month to name a few.  A nurse in the obstetrics department at the hospital and an E.R. nurse, independent of one another, both mentioned that there seemed to be more births and more accidents when the moon was full.   Have you ever wondered why we call a crazy person a “lunatic”?  Luna in Latin means moon.

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