October 6, 2009 11:36 AM Subscribe
Why does life always seem so much gloomier, and problems more formidable, when you're thinking them over in the middle of the night vs. during normal waking hours? And which perspective is more accurate-- the rosy daytime view, or the pessimistic nighttime one?
posted by yersinia to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
As the veteran of a few extended late-night worry-fests, I'm kind of freaked out by how different the same problems can seem when viewed at different times in the day. I can honestly go from thinking that Bad Thing X is very likely to happen, and would be completely terrible if it did (3AM) to feeling sure that X is fairly unlikely to happen, and would be not especially problematic if it did (11 AM the next day).
Clearly, either 3-AM-me or 11-AM-me is wrong, and in the interests of rational decision-making, it'd be handy to know which one. Thing is, I've never really been able to find any obvious flaws in either my daytime or my nighttime logic. So whom should I trust-- is it that daytime and distraction causes us to (ahem) misunderestimate the magnitude of our problems, or that creepy darkness magnifies issues that aren't really so bad? Anyone have ideas about the physiological/hormonal/psychological factors that might be causing this sort of circadian perspective switch?