Waking up

Weird things we do when we’ve just woken up

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Sunday, 31 August 2014 - Last Updated on August 31, 2014
Waking up

Waking up
We’ve all had weird dreams, where the premise or “story” of the dream is so far out that we just remember it because it’s so crazy. However, do you do something weird when you’ve just woken up? When I asked some people about this, it turns out that many people do have their own little quirks.

Movement check
One common theme I have noticed among many friends seems to be some sort of maintenance check for their bodies. One friend talks about how she needs to wiggle each toe individually (or as much as she can do that, anyway), before she decides to get up from bed. For another friend, he has the same idea, except that he has alternating movement patterns on his fingers. Of course, in his case, he takes it to the next level, since he prefers that he finishes the whole check before he moves another muscle to get out of bed.

Personally, my own little movement check is the not-weird stretching exercise in bed, except that I make it a point to follow a pattern, too, where I stretch my arms, first, then my legs, then I arch my back like a cat, then arch it in the opposite direction. After I build up enough tension, I then snap my posture back to normal so fast that I end up in a sitting position.

So, I talked about these patterns with my friends, and it seems that many of them agree that it might be, in part, a subconscious “mechanical check” that our body does, to see if all the parts are working, so to speak.

I have two other friends, however, who have a different weird thing for their morning rituals. One of them likes to hum – and it’s not as if he’s singing or anything, it’s just aimless humming. He’s described it to me as humming his mood in the morning (whatever that means). Another friend has, in his case, full vocalization, as in he sings nonsense, or if he does stick to a tune, it’s like listening to an aimless version of a famous song.

Now, to be honest, I have never heard my humming friend do exactly that, but I did have the opportunity (?) to listen to my other friend wake up and do that sing-song thing of his – we were at the beach, and I heard him… singing aimlessly shortly after he woke up.

Again, I think that this sort of weird thing is about checking out a person’s biomechanics, though in this case, it’s more about how the voice checks out.

I have to be honest, I have the normal version, too, of this sort of thing: the half-yawn, half-shout that signals to the world that yes, I am awake, and I need coffee – now!

Dancing while lying down
Now, this one seems to be a bit more popular, but no less weird in the sense that it somehow is linked to the idea of a movement check – except it’s livelier.

One friend actually moves his feet around as if he’s riding a bicycle. Another friend does a similar thing, but in her case, she prefers to practice how her legs are when she’s swimming – a scissor-y movement. Still another makes leg movements as if he’s tap-dancing. Finally, the odd one out in this set is one friend of mine who likes making the actions for making a snow angel – in bed.

For these people, the biomechanical maintenance check isn’t just about testing their joints. There’s an element of coordination involved, meaning that it also probably jogs their mind to wake them up.
Of course, one other friend of mine mixes weirdness with functionality, by spinning his legs in such a way that the action will pull him up to a sitting position at the side of the bed – where he then spends a few more minutes staring into space while his brain gets into first gear. Think of it as the equivalent of a short-term autopilot movement.

Conditioned actions
One older friend of mine has trained himself to write down whatever ideas or dreams he had immediately – so that he can use them for his stories later on. Another one starts whispering to herself details from the dream, in an attempt to remember them. I have, actually quite a few friends who have come up with different mnemonic tricks, so they can remember the content of their dreams. For many, it’s simple to find out what their dreams are, while for others, it’s about using their dreams as the foundations of written work, or at least so they can archive their dreams, to see if there are any hidden meanings.

But why do we do all these weird things?
As mentioned earlier, it seems that for many people, it’s all about getting the body ready for action – albeit in weird ways. However, it’s also possible that your weird actions also have something to do with your basic personality. For example, in my case, my weird thing is to stretch and wiggle my arms and legs, and then try to do a Tarzan-esque howl. Part of the reason why I do that sometimes, is because I am getting myself ready for the stresses of the day – which explains why I do that mostly during times when I know I have a busy day ahead, even before my brain has fully remembered the fact that I will have a busy day.

So is it possible that the weird things we do upon waking up in the morning are actually personal expressions? Well, think of it this way: our actions when we wake up are borne of having much less mental restrictions, as our cognitive brain is still gearing up. So, in a sense, what we do in the morning when we have just woken up are among our purest actions, as they are all with little or no personal or emotional restraint.

The weird thing, then, is not to do anything weird at all! Just waking up, blinking your eyes a few times, and then getting up straightaway without any ritual or strange action is, in itself, probably the strangest thing to do. How’s that for something to think about?

The next time you feel like you shouldn’t do something weird when you’ve just woken up, relax, and let it happen. It’s just you getting ready in the morning, after all.

Photo: “Waking Up,” by Lars Plougmann c/o Flickr.com

Richard Leo Ramos (73 Posts)

Richard Leo Ramos is a writer, editor, and pop culture enthusiast. When not working, he is a bass guitarist of the metal band Cog. He is also the founding "bar owner" of an online hangout for mecha anime enthusiasts in Facebook, known as Mecha Toys.

About Richard Leo Ramos

Richard Leo Ramos is a writer, editor, and pop culture enthusiast. When not working, he is a bass guitarist of the metal band Cog. He is also the founding "bar owner" of an online hangout for mecha anime enthusiasts in Facebook, known as Mecha Toys.

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