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another lifestyle experiment

Mama and Harvey reading by the light of the headlamp

better than cursing the darkness

My family indulges me wonderfully. The other day, I announced with no preamble that I thought we should stop using electric lights in the evening. "OK," they said—or Leah said, at least. The other two failed to grasp the import of the change in policy.

Why on earth would I think such a thing? I'm not quite sure. I know that Cornell University sleep researcher James Maas suggests that the light bulb was among the more destructive inventions of the 20th century for what it's done to people's sleep, and it's certainly nice to be more in tune with the natural cycle of the day. It's especially important for Harvey, now that he doesn't have a set bedtime (of which more anon).

Of course, it's kind of cheating to be typing by the light of the computer—the house has been dark for a good half hour now. We're using flashlights too, as necessary (see above photo). But computers and flashlights are only a marginally acceptable solutions when compared to the thoughtless convenience of overhead lighting, so even when we do stay up past dark—which we've been doing—we feel that we should be going to bed.

Or I do, at least. Maybe Leah just feels annoyed at not being able to see anything really well. But as I said, she indulges me wonderfully and hasn't mentioned it. How lucky I am. And soon I'll be well-rested too!


Where you lead I will follow. The kids don't have a choice yet.

Ever since I took Professor Maas' class I have tried to go to sleep about the same time every night and why I insist my kids keep a stable bedtime even on weekends or summertime. Sleep is important. And like Professor Maas says, you can't make up sleep.

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