There are a ton of reasons why we should get to bed early – or at least early enough to help us land in the coveted window of 7-9 hours of sleep. I often fail to get inside that window, or if I do it’s just hovering around the 7-hour mark. I can’t help it though. I’ve tried, believe me. I chronically stay up too late over and over again. And every time I get into bed – whatever the clock says – I feel so amazing that I think to myself, “you know, I really should get more sleep more often!” But I fail over and over again and here are the reasons why.
I am a night owl by nature.
It doesn’t matter that I live by a schedule that says otherwise. I work the shift I do (10 am to 6 pm) because it fits my life. I have two kids who need to be roused from sleep to go to school and one still needs to be walked to school. I also like to be home in time to eat supper with my family and spend some quality evening time with them.
When I worked 1 pm to 9 pm for awhile the worst part was missing out on those meals and family time (the second worst part was I still had to get up early to take them to school even though I didn’t have to leave home myself until 11:30 each morning). That’s why I was so happy to switch to my current shift; I still had to get up early but at least I finished early enough to be with my whole family when I got home.
That doesn’t change my own natural rhythm though. Unless I have seriously burned the candle at both ends or I’m coming down with a cold or virus, I will almost always get a wake-up boost in the early evening. Even if I was falling asleep on the commute home from work, odds are very high that I will be wide awake by 8 pm.
Then cue the whole thing to cycle again tomorrow. I can’t help it. It’s how I’m wired.Getting to bed early is tough for night owls - and so is getting up in the morning! Click To Tweet
The late evenings are when I do stuff.
As noted above, I’m not a morning person. I am in awe of people who wake up at 5 am (or earlier!) in order to workout, meditate, write, I don’t know what else. I also know I’m not going to be that person. I prefer to run after work, not before. If I try to meditate at the ass-crack of dawn, I’m going to fall asleep two minutes in. Writing? I can barely talk when I first get up, I can only imagine the absolute gibberish that I would write in the dark morning hours.
So I do those things in the evening. If I want to run I’m out the door by 7 pm for a 5K or so. My meditation can pop up at multiple times of the day but I do most of my concentrated zen in the evening when the house is quiet(ish). My writing may pop up on the weekends at varying hours but most of it happens after 10 pm. It’s just when I have the time to do it.
Would I love to write at 2 pm so I don’t have to do it at 10 pm? Well sure, but seeing as I’m at work at that time, I have to do what I can when I can. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell me I should go to bed. I KNOW I should but when the hell will I ever get anything done?!
It’s my ME time.
When I get up in the morning I get myself and the kids ready for the day (George can handle himself). Then I get on a bus and head downtown. These days, traffic in Halifax is so ridiculous that I tend to get there with just enough time to grab my coffee and get into work to start my shift. I work for eight hours (usually squeezing in Instagram work on my breaks, though I save lunch for reading). I sit on a bus and come home.
After arriving at home, if I’m not running (and let’s be honest, these days I am a horrible slacker) then I sit and have a glass of wine and chat with George. We eat supper as a family, and since George usually makes supper during the week, I take care of cleaning up the kitchen. Once that’s done it’s a whirlwind of prepping/packing lunches for the next day, hopping in and out of the shower, and maybe watching a TV show with everyone.
And then it’s 10 pm so everyone goes to bed. George usually goes to bed at that time too, and although Hayley usually stays up, she’s in her room and Breanna is sound asleep within minutes. This leaves me with a whole block of time that is just for me. Because I need to work so I can afford to live, and I love to spend time with my family, but I also need time where I just do whatever I want to do.
Sure, I could sleep, but is sleep really ME time? No, it’s sleep time. And while I need that sleep time to stay healthy, I also need me time to stay sane(ish). And it really doesn’t matter what I do. Sometimes I use that time to follow an online course that I’m doing, sometimes I watch videos on YouTube, sometimes I read, sometimes I write, sometimes I scroll through social media. It doesn’t really matter whether I’m being productive or whether I’m just faffing about, as long as I’m having my nightly cup of green tea and enjoying myself, that is ME TIME. And I need it.
Eventually I will get so tired that I go to bed earlier.
Usually, anyway. Sometimes it hits me during the week and I run into a solid brick wall of Tired. Or I catch whatever fun germs are floating around my office (or whatever equally fun germs the kids bring home from school for me) and I have to go to bed early. Often I am able to make it through the full week and I just sleep a little longer on the weekends.
The thing is, I know that those 7-9 hours of sleep are really important. I do. But I get up at 7 am on weekdays. At best, I could go to bed at midnight (and I often do) and get seven hours. If I want those NINE hours of sleep, I’d have to be in bed by 10 pm. That means I’m not doing anything other than the daily routine with no time for anything else. That’s just not going to happen.
What is your sleep like? Do you get as many hours as you need? Are you a morning lark or a night owl? And when are you getting stuff done? Let me know in the comments!