For most of my adult life I have woken up at 6:00 am. Not 5:59 am or 6:01 am, but on the dot of 6:00 am. It is a phenomenon I have never understood, despite much research on the internet but with no answers.

When I moved out West back in 1993, traveling through Canada’s various time zones, I woke up at 6:00 am wherever I was at the time. For several months after arriving in Westbank and staying with my parents, sleeping on the beach, I woke up at 6:00 am despite the three hour time difference. When I moved to Panama, where the time zone is one hour different, I still awoke the first day at 6:00 am in the hotel I stayed at, despite having slept several hours on the bus trip from Panama City to Boquete. When I returned to Toronto in March of 2009 and stayed with my cousin I woke up at 6:00 am the very next day even though I had not managed a wink on the noisy bus to Panama City or the flights to Toronto on the same day.

Another confusing fact is that it does not matter what time I went to sleep or how much sleep I’ve had, even if I have napped during the day, fallen asleep watching TV or stayed up late. When I worked a factory job out West, starting at 7:00 am and finishing at 3:30, I would come home, have a couple of hours sleep, then go out, often not getting to bed until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, yet I still woke at 6:00 am.

Last night we put our clocks back one hour and one would think that I would wake up at 7:00 am, only yesterday what was 6:00 am, but this morning I woke up at exactly 6:00 am new time. How my body is aware of the one hour difference continues to puzzle me.