To put all the corona stuff aside for at least one week (numbers are soaring!), I came across a French study about lack of sleep and how you can’t really make up for early weekdays by sleeping in late on the weekend.

Once upon a time I was never an early riser. The earliest I would get up would be 6:50 a.m. and that was usually after I’d be in bed at 10:30 the night before. Not saying I’d be sound asleep at 10:30, but I was getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Those days are long gone. Now, most mornings I’m up around 3 a.m. and hitting the road at 4-4:30 a.m. Even if I am in bed by 10:30, I’m looking at around four hours of sleep. It’s not every morning. Some days I get to sleep in until 5 or 5:30. It was a drastic change for somebody who spent his life convinced that 3 a.m. was a made up time. It is a completely different world at that time. I started the early hours right as the pandemic was cranking up. Parts of the world looked deserted at 3 p.m. At 3 a.m., I was the last man on Earth.

Things have picked up since then. I can drive through Sweetwater at 3:10 a.m. and meet other traffic. I like to think the other driver, like me, is looking at me and wondering what kind of moron is out and about at this time?

There are some things I have noticed about traffic at that time of the morning. When it comes to guys in jacked up trucks, there is no speed limit you can do to make them happy. You could doing 150 mph and they’d be on your bumper, screaming, “Let’s go, dude!”

Judging by the amount of people I’ve seen coming out of Tellico between 5-6 a.m., the population of that town during the day must be about 12 people. If you think Vonore traffic can be a hassle when the factories are letting out in the afternoon, you should be there when they all start coming in around 5 a.m. If the population of Tellico shrinks during the day, Vonore’s must double, or triple. Anyway, this French study said a lot of people use the weekends to make up for not getting much sleep during the week, but it doesn’t really work that way. Once that sleep is gone, it’s gone. And crawling out of bed at 11 or noon usually leaves you feeling worse. I can attest to that. I once was up at 3 a.m. six days in a row. On Sunday I slept until 10:30. I woke up not really sure who I was, where I was at or why I even existed. The entire day felt weird and unreal and when I got back into bed that night it took forever to go to sleep. Not saying I wanted to get up at 3 when I didn’t have to, but I should’ve gotten up at 8 or 9. Would naps make a difference? Maybe, but it won’t really make up for anything. I sometimes sneak in a quick catnap during the day and, while I might occasionally get a jolt out of it, I mostly just feel worse and want to go home and sleep in the driveway, which is about as far as I’d probably make it.

Here are the jobs that are mostly likely to mess with your sleep pattern:

• Air traffic controllers

• Network administrators

• Factory workers

• Senior managers

• Cable news workers

• Nurses

• Financial analysts

• Police officers

• Medical students, interns and residents

• Airline pilots

• New parents

• Truck drivers

• Bartenders

Is there a sleep solution if you have one of these jobs(my new one isn’t on there)? Not really. You’re supposed to get eight hours of sleep a night, but if you’re getting up at 3 a.m., you’d need to be in bed by 7 p.m. the night before and that’s just not a realistic thing, especially in the summer months. Working the overnight hours used to be an indication that you were either starting out or your life had taken a wrong turn.

But a lot of those jobs listed above are considered good jobs with good pay and potential for advancement. Being a pilot is still considered an awesome career. I don’t have to be up tomorrow until 4:30, so I should be all right. I don’t even want to think about the fact I now consider 4:30 a.m. to be a sleep in morning.

What, exactly, happened in my world?

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