Growing up, there were seven people in my family. (Six Tals, plus the nanny). Because it fit so perfectly, we each got assigned as one of the seven dwarves, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. As a kid, I was Bashful. (Seriously, I cried if you looked at me wrong. If there had been a “Sensitive” dwarf, that would have been me.) Now that I’m a “grown up”, I’ve come out of my shell a bit. But, I am my mother’s daughter, through and through.
What does this have to do with sleep, you ask?
Momma was Sleepy. Was and is. And as it turns out, I am too. I can sleep anywhere – in cars, on planes, on couches, through movies… you name it.
While sleeping is great, I really hate waking up to an alarm. I might wake up naturally at 6:30 am, but if my alarm goes off before I’m ready, I’m grouchy all day long. And what is worse than taking a nap that isn’t quite long enough? Nothing, that’s what. It’s a recipe for a grumpy disaster.
So I got to thinking, how much sleep does my body need? I want to know when to go to bed, and when I’ll wake up and feel my best.
(As a side note, whenever I talk about sleep I think of Eric Whitacre’s Sleep. It is one of my favorite pieces of his, and it’s definitely worth a listen. But only if you’re not driving… it tends to make me, well, sleepy.)
I am extremely fortunate in that my start time at work is pretty flexible. I can be at work any time between 8 and 10 am, unless I have a meeting or appointment scheduled. For the last week or so, I’ve been experimenting a bit with my sleep patterns. I haven’t set an alarm, and I’ve just gone to bed and woken up when it feels natural.
You guys. Do this. It’s awesome.
I don’t know if it’s the change of weather (FINALLY it’s warm!) or the fact that I’m just letting my body do what it naturally wants to do, but I feel so much better. I’m less cranky, waking up is actually easy (and I am not typically a coffee drinker so it’s never easy), and I’m learning so much about what my body and mind need to be successful throughout the day.
I’m still working on finding the exact balance, but what I’ve found is this: I go upstairs and start unwinding between 9:15 and 9:30 pm. This means teeth brushing, face washing, catching up on the interwebs, playing with the dog, putting on PJs, etc. I’m usually in bed by 10, and asleep by 10:30. It turns out, my sleep patterns (when they’re not interrupted by Jameson) are pretty typical – a solid 8 hours. (Every few nights I’ll sleep 9, which is sort of surprising. This morning, I woke up at 7:20 and was shocked at how late it was.) Most days, I am awake pretty consistently by 6:30 or so, if not earlier.
Like I said before, I’m extremely lucky that I don’t have to rush in the morning most of the time to be at work at 8 on the dot. However, my goal is to figure out my sleep patterns so that even when I DO have an early appointment, I’ll just need to alter my bed time in order to make it happen naturally. I’d love to phase my alarm out 100%.
How do you keep track of your sleep? Does waking up to an alarm stress you out or motivate you?