Weekend assignment #199 – “When do you sleep?”

The Weekend Assignment is based at Outpost Mavarin. If you choose to play, post your discussion of the week’s question on your own blog, then leave a comment and link on the main assignment post. A roundup of links to all the responses will be posted on Thursday, and next weekend’s assignment will be up next Friday.

Weekend Assignment #199: What is your usual sleep schedule on weeknights? Are you an “early to bed, early to rise” sort of person, or do you stay awake far into the night (voluntarily or otherwise), and get up as late as your work schedule permits? Do you give priority to getting adequate sleep? If so, how is that working out for you?

Extra Credit: If you had no work or family scheduling obligations, would your sleeping pattern change substantially?

My definition of “sleeping in” is getting up at 7 AM. On weekday mornings, my alarm is set for 4:30, so staying in bed until after the sun comes up feels like a luxury.

I get up so early on weekdays because I don’t like to feel rushed through my morning routine, which includes showering, walking the dog, breakfast, and getting dressed for work, before I go forth to do battle with the traffic in my effort to get to my office by 8 AM. My commute can vary anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes, mostly depending on factors that I can’t control, so I try not to be too stressed before I hit the road, and that requires giving myself a fairly long lead time.

But I’m really not addressing the question directly, am I? Let me try to get back on track…Sometimes lack of sufficient sleep makes one prone to being easily distracted.

My adult sleep patterns were very much influenced by my child. I became a parent while I was still in college, and babies don’t exactly conform to typical student hours, so it’s up to the parent to adapt, and sleep becomes valued and precious. As a young child, my son was a morning person, which meant I had to be too; it became habit, and I remained so even after his adolescent body clock shifted to later hours. These days, even if I don’t have to get up for work in the morning, I still have a reason to get up pretty early; I’m an apartment dweller with a dog and no yard, which means the dog actually needs to be taken out. While she’s amazingly patient sometimes, I don’t like to keep her waiting too long to get out and do what she needs to do.

Being an early riser dictates the time I go to sleep at night in a couple of ways. On weeknights, I rarely get more than six to six-and-a-half hours of sleep; I just can’t bring myself to go to bed at 8:30 at night unless I’m sick, so eight hours a night just won’t happen, but knowing I need to be up at 4:30 makes me attempt to be in bed between 9:30 and 10 most nights. Also, having gotten up at 4:30, I’m usually not physically capable of staying up later than 9:30 or 10 unless I’m very busy. On a quiet evening, I’ve been known to start nodding off over a book or in front of the TV as early as 8:45.

I have been an early riser for so many years that I don’t think I know how to sleep late anymore, although I never really was a night owl in the first place, and I doubt I’d change my ways even if I could. I’ve always liked getting an early start on my day, and I just like morning. However, I’ve read that falling asleep in less than 15 minutes after settling into bed is a sign of sleep deprivation. If that’s true, I am most certainly sleep-deprived, because most nights it probably takes me less than ten. I think getting “enough” sleep really is important, but in order to fit in a lot of other things in my life that I think are important too, I’ve tried to adjust to where “enough” sleep for me isn’t quite as much as the experts recommend. Sometimes it works out fine, and sometimes I need a nap.

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10 comments

  1. Holy cow! You get up at 4:30. That makes me cry. In fact, I’m off to bed now and with only 7.5 hours of sleep it will be a bad thing. I like 10 hours!

    P.S. Zip over to valuewit.com and sign-up for the email list and get a goody!

  2. Bitsy – I don’t think I could sleep ten hours even if I had the chance.

    Notice I don’t say I HAVE to get up at 4:30; I could probably change some of my morning routine and sleep later. So I’m choosing to get up at 4:30. That might be even worse…

    I’m already a ValueWIT subscriber via my feed reader, but hopefully you’ll pick up a few more e-mail subscribers via this comment.

  3. I never get enough sleep during the week. My husband is a night owl and so I often stay up much later than I should and then since I have to be at work at 7 a.m. sharp, that means I get up early in the morning. I am not an early morning person when forced to wake up before the sun and so I tend to sleep until the very last minute, with just enough time to get ready for work and out the door on time. I’m lucky if I get 6 hours a sleep during the week. I function my best with 9 hours of sleep per night. Not a good thing.

  4. Literary Feline – Having to keep adult hours is the worst sometimes, isn’t it? πŸ™‚ Almost everyone I know says they can’t manage to get enough sleep.

  5. I am going to be really annoying and say that I DO get enough sleep. After many years of sleep deprivation, working two jobs, lots of stress and angst on a daily basis, no vacations, not even a day off for years at a stretch, I am now in a position where not only do I have a calm home life, I actually get enough sleep.

    Should I say how many hours? Do you promise not to hate me?

    Nine. That’s right. 9 hours.

  6. Working Girl – Nine hours is a vacation treat for me – I do admit to being just a bit envious. However, I must say it sounds like you’ve earned it.

  7. I’m much like you – I get up at 5 even though I don’t have to be at work until 8:30. I need the time to feel like I’ve done something with my day besides go to work! I used to be a serious night owl, though, and sometimes still revert to that on the weekends and then find myself all sorts of screwed up come Sunday night.

  8. That’s pretty much my husband’s routine. There are days, though, when he goes back to sleep after that early alarm goes off, especially if he was on the computer past 9 PM the night before.

  9. Karen – I’d do that if I could, but most days it’s not an option. My husband’s alarm is set for 5:15, though, so I do have a backup.

    I started on the Weekend Assignments at the same time you took them over from John Scalzi, and I’m really enjoying them!