Jessie- Enjoying a last bit of summer vacation on the coast of Maine
I’ve written several times in blog posts, either here or as a guest on other blogs, that I am an enthusiastic planner and goal setter. For many years I’ve spent time once each looking over my resolutions and plans for the year and bringing them down to weekly and daily courses of action. Every year I buy a planner to help me to stay on track and to achieve those things I most want to accomplish.
This year I have been using a planner by Ink and Volt which I adore. The one feature that has been more useful to me than all the others is the monthly challenge. It is a page used to state a habit or skill you would like to work on for the month with a place to write a note to yourself about why you feel like bothering and a daily check off area to mark if you manage to achieve what you set out to do.
In July the habit I decided to work on was getting 8 hours of slep each night. My husband has been remarkably sleep deprived for quite a long time and I wanted to be supportive of him making a priority of turning in early. I thought if I went to bed early enough to accomplish my goal he would feel he had to do so too and that it would do him a world of good. What I hadn’t realized was that more sleep was just what I needed myself.
For years I had no time to hear myself think until after the children went to bed. I would squeeze out a couple of hours for reading or knitting or movie watching after they were asleep. This wasn’t so bad when they went to bed at 7:00 or 7:30 but as they stayed up later and later themselves, I did too. As a result, for the last several years, I’ve managed on five or six hours of sleep every night and I thought it was enough. That is, until I made a habit of sleeping for eight.
By the end of the first week in July I felt like a different woman. I popped out of bed with energy I hadn’t felt in years. I wasn’t as likely to find myself looking in the refrigerator for no good reason. I was more productive with my work. It was marvelous. By the second week I didn’t even feel guilty about lazing about in bed for so long every night. By the third and fourth I was astonished at the change in my life. I was awake fewer hours each day but each was more enjoyable and productive.
Now when I don’t get my eight hours I feel it. I even attempt to take a nap to catch up if need be. I’m not sure how I managed for so long on so little. Even after a couple of months I am astonished by how much better I feel and how little appeal just one more chapter or another episode of any given program on Netflix has in comparison with a full night’s sleep.
Readers, do you ever get enough sleep? Do you wish you could squeeze in a another hour or so every night?
Because I monitor quakerworship.org (based in Europe), my day starts at 4:30 am. This means I need to be IN bed before 8:30 to have any hope of eight hours of sleep. Most nights I make it by 8 pm and will read for a while until the eyelids are heavy (thank you, those who send me paperbacks) usually closing the book and my eyes about 8:45, which means I generally get about 7.5 hours before I wake up, just before the alarm goes off at 4:30. An important thing is that the spine gets to stretch out for at least eight hours, helping with arthritis.
What an early start! I can’t believe you wake up before your alarm!
Eight hours… *SIGH* I don’t know what that feels like. I have managed to get a little over seven hours instead of the 5 or 6 I had gotten used to. But I lust for 8 peaceful, restful hours of sleep.
I hope you find a way, Annette!
I used to pop up at five thirty whether I had enough sleep or not. The last couple of months I’ve been taking a temporary medication that keeps me in bed until almost seven. Frankly I don’t like it – I miss my quiet early mornings, but I am getting about eight hours of sleep now.
Question – your new approach worked for you, but did it work for Elias?
Quiet early mornings are so lovely, aren’t they? I hope you get yours back very soon!
For most of my life since high school I followed more or less the same sleep pattern, which left me rested enough to face the day. But in the last year or two the pattern has shifted. Same amount of sleep, but I nod off about ten at night, and wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at six (or earlier) in the morning. I’d be happy to nudge it back to where it was for so long, but it’s not working. I can’t tell you how many endings of PBS mystery shows I’ve missed completely, when I wake up just as the credits are rolling. Who killed the guy?
Do you make up your own endings to the mysteries, Sheila?
Sometimes the writers make it easy (Midsomer Murders, anyone?), but other times even the crime-solvers seem confused until the end. I keep hoping to find rebroadcasts.
I go to bed at 10. The idea is to get up at 6. That’s eight hours. Should be good, right?
Except it doesn’t work like that. I turn off the screens, I don’t drink caffeine after noon — I still can’t fall asleep until 11:30 or so.
Except yesterday. We did an hour-long massage as an anniversary gift to our selves. We both fell asleep quickly and slept like rocks for 8 hours. But I can’t afford to do that every day! LOL
A friend just showed me a sort of a trigger point massage hook sort of a thing that she uses to work out the knots on her back with realitive ease. Maybe that would work for you too?
Maybe. The Hubby tossed and turned so much last night that it took forever to fall asleep.
How interesting, Jessie. When I was at your stage of life, I was doing the same thing–running on 5-6 hours. Now that there’s no job and no one to get off to school or work, I sleep later. Mostly, I get enough sleep, except on those nights when I can’t get to sleep. The older I get, the more I feel it when I don’t get enough sleep.
It does seem to be about stages of life, doesn’t it? I wonder what the future holds when I don’t need to adhere to my kid’s school schedule.
Being freed from the tyranny of the school schedule–and the school calendar–is wonderful.
I was very lucky that my daughter slept through the night starting at two months. And even during high school she usually went to bed early. It’s not like I get 8 hours every night but I often do.
Sherry, you were so lucky! I can’t even imagine that!
Two months! I think my son was six years. In fact, I’m not sure he even sleeps through the night now, though fortunately, it’s no longer my problem.
Jessie! Yet again, we think alike. I’ve been working on 7 hours, and usually get between 6.5 and 7. BUT I think 8 would be transformative. Given my jobs, not seeing how it is possible. That said, worth a try. Tired of being tired…
8 has been exactly that, transformative! Hope you find a way even if you need to squeeze in a nap to do it!
Rejuvenation! Yes, I get 7-8 hours of sleep most nights. I have been since my kids became adults and I don’t lie awake worried! I fall asleep at a normal time of about 10:00 and am wide awake , generally, about 5:30 or 6:00. It became a habit and I judiciously maintain the habit. When I don’t get the 7+ hours, I feel it all over!
Just the perfect word, Doris, rejuvenation!
I’m usually working on six hours of sleep. And then I nap during my lunch hour reading time.
The problem is I’ve got TV shows on until 11 PM. And then I’ve got no self-control and I find myself thinking of things I “have” to look up right then on the internet.
Self-control would be a wonderful thing.
I hate to say it Mark but I’ve been finding that more sleep has helped with my self control:)
I get about five or six hours sleep. Seem to need less as I age. Listen to late night radio most nights and still wake up at around five. Maybe I’ll try to do eight just to see what happens if I do.
I can’t recommend it enough!
I have terrible insomnia that started during hormonal changes and plagues me to this day. I’ve learned in those nights when sleep doesn’t come easily that I can read with a book lite while Doc sleeps without waking him. That helps my eyes get heavy and on my second attempt I’m usually more successful. On those nights I’m up too late, I do try to stay in bed the next morning to get my full 8 hrs. I’m a huge believer in naps, too, when your body says you need one!
Naps can really bridge that gap after a bad night!
I’m an early riser. The first alarm goes off at 4:30 AM. By the time the second alarm goes off at 5, I’m out of bed already. But I do love my afternoon naps. I’m utterly stupid around 3 PM whether I slept 6 or 8 hours. I’ve always been that way. So I can either wander around cleaning house if I can stay awake or just go to sleep and wake up smart again.
Sounds like you’ve found what works for you! Congratulations!
I am retired and I still feel like I do not get enough sleep. My problem is I stay up reading into the wee hours.
I have often had the wee hour reading problem too! But then, I think most writers tend to have it!
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