Baffled by Sleep

| Fri Apr. 13, 2012 9:41 AM EDT

Have you noticed that I've been posting a little earlier than usual for the past few weeks? For the past few months, even. Well, I have, and it's deeply, deeply weird. For over 30 years, I've been the world's biggest baby about waking up early. I get up naturally at 8 am, and being forced to wake up even an hour earlier has always felt like being dragged into the fourth circle of Hell.

But for the past year, I've been waking up occasionally at 7:30, or even 7:00, without anyone forcing me to. Then a few months ago that became routine. And a few weeks ago I started waking up way earlier. Yesterday I was up at 5 am. Today I was up at 6 am. And the really weird part is that it hasn't had much effect on me. Maybe a tiny bit more tiredness in the late afternoon, but that's it. I'm my usual low-energy self, but no lower than before, and I still fall asleep at midnight, same as always.

I've heard that sleep patterns get disrupted as you age, but I'm only 53. So what's going on? How could I require eight hours of sleep for my entire adult life, and then, within a matter of months, transition to seven or six or even five and not feel a difference? I'm baffled. I wonder if it will last?