Does a bear sleep in the winter?

bear sleepingMy morning routine is pretty simple. My alarm goes off at 5:35. I check my email on my Iphone, then knock on my son’s door and tell him to get up. After that’s done, I get back in bed. Sometimes I have to get up once or twice more to cajole him into the shower or to speed his progress in getting dressed. My primary goal is to make sure he gets out the door on time. My secondary goal is to go back to sleep.

My son takes after me. He does not like to get up early. If we’re allowed to sleep until we’re no longer tired, we are both very pleasant morning people. Okay, maybe late morning people. Today I got up at 8:30 because I had to. If I could have slept another hour I’d feel better about my prospects for the day. If my son got to sleep as much as I do, he’d probably feel better too. At a minimum, he wouldn’t walk out the door with “$@&#$! morning” written all over his face.

My acupuncturist says that my need for rest is a natural result of  yin season–a time for rest and retreat. It’s not unlike hibernation. I’m all over that concept. My morning slumber is not the tangled, deeply mired sleep of depression. It’s restorative, languid, warm and happy. My cats jump up on the bed and curl up against my back, my familiars and kindred spirits. When I get up, I feel  full of ideas and energy.

When I wake up at 5:30, and get to work, yes, I have more time at my disposal. Unfortunately, it also takes me twice as long to do everything. I make more errors, drink more coffee and take more breaks. Most of all, I don’t approach my work with joy. I’m not going to lie and say I’m producing as much output as I would if I didn’t snooze all morning. I’m not delusional. But for me, attitude is a critical difference between being a humor writer and a grouchy cynic that writes mean stuff about other people.

In our uber-productive world, I don’t think we value sleep as much as we ought to. When I’m running back into bed to catch that extra hour of sleep, I feel ridiculously happy. So I say, screw it, hibernation it is. Bears have tapped into a deep well of instinctive reasoning. Sure, life is too short to waste, but isn’t staring at a blank screen thinking “I’m sooooo tired, I really wish I was sleeping” just another way of wasting it?

Phil the groundhog says spring will come early, but the weatherman says we might get a foot of snow midweek, so when will my hibernation end? I don’t know. I’m pretty sure, however, that when daylight savings time hits next week, and it’s dark in the morning, you’ll know where to find me. But don’t bother. After all, you wouldn’t poke a sleeping bear, would you? Didn’t think so.

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by Jovana © 2006 Creative Commons

4 comments on “Does a bear sleep in the winter?

  1. Veronica Roth says:

    Lucky, lucky girl! This morning I woke up at 4:30 and there wasn’t a thing I could do to doze again, (short of a very large sleeping pill (which I don’t believe in)). So 4:30 it is then…ugg.

  2. ‘Hibernation it is’ . . . ‘critical difference between being a humor writer and a grouchy cynic’ . . . love it, love you!!!

  3. Oh I totally agree, people need more sleep just like the bears, great post, really enjoyed it.

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