Do you get enough sleep?
Because I’m not sure I do. Generally speaking, I get about 6 to 7 hours a night during the week and make up for that on the weekends. But I’ve been noticing (and noticing) that this system isn’t working so well in my late thirties. I daresay this system never worked, and maybe this phase of life is just the beginning of me being more motivated to give my body what it needs. Because let’s face it, when you don’t take care of yourself at this stage, the consequences make themselves known in a more immediate way (dark circles, grouchy attitude, inability to concentrate or operate heavy machinery to name but a few…).
My kids’ bedtime is between 8:30pm and 9. Generally they start getting ready for bed about 8pm and at some point we read up until I turn their lights out. I’m not lenient about letting them talk after lights out on weeknights (at all). They’ve been sharing a room for a long time, and though I appreciate the idea of sisters chatting at the end of a busy day, they better do it before the lights go out because this is one area where I’m fairly strict.
This began in part because I’ve been raising these two primarily by myself since they were 4 and 2 years old. At the end of the day I just couldn’t deal with having to go back and forth with them until 11pm. On the nights this has happened (because of course there have been some) I would love to tell you I was extremely patient and wonderful with my restless children. But I can’t, because I wasn’t, and I’m still not. Barring nightmares or the stomach flu (or something similar), if my kids want sweet and gentle momma, they better fill that need before 9pm or after 6:30am (8am on weekends).
So why the heck am I only getting 6 to 7 hours on the weeknights? Well, I would love to tell you it’s because I’m hosting fabulous salon type parties at my house into the wee hours each night ala the Russian aristocracy portrayed in Anna Karenina…but, more likely, I’m just up too late actually reading Anna Karenina…I could also be online looking at absolutely nothing of substance. Quite honestly, I might just be staring at a wall. And then it takes me a while to get ready for bed and before you know it, it’s midnight.
The point is I’ve always liked having a few hours to decompress after the girls went to bed. But now I’m feeling like being up past 10pm is a luxury I can no longer afford on a regular basis, and every article I read seems to back me up on this. (Ever read an article about how Americans are just too well-rested and healthy? Yeah, me neither.)
And then of course there is the whole matter of falling asleep at a reasonable hour, even when you’ve managed to get yourself to bed on time. Exercise seems to help, so does melatonin. I’m not giving up my morning coffee or my ‘elevensies’ coffee either, so don’t even go there…
Needless to say, when I get 8 hours of sleep on a weeknight, I’m a better mother, a better worker, a better citizen. And apparently I’m helping control my weight and perhaps staving off dementia as well…? All that and I get more dream time!
Ah well, enough said. I, for one, am excited to see how my latest experiment in being boring and well-rested on a regular basis goes. I’ll keep you apprised of my progress (maybe reading that post could even help you fall asleep? We could work on this together!)