Monday, August 13, 2012

The truth hurts…but so does too little sleep


I’m struggling to admit that Bernadette’s sleeping habits have changed. She’s always been a good sleeper, and aside from the few weeks when she was giving up her morning nap about a year ago, she’s slept well beyond 8 or 8:30am for as long as I can remember. But suddenly, she’s adopted a 7am wake up call – and I wish it weren’t true.

And unfortunately, I’m acting like it’s not. I haven’t adjusted my scheduled because I don’t want her 7am wake ups to stick. I figure if I hold out, maybe it will just become a passing phase, and I’ll return to sleeping until my beloved 8am.

But I’m only fooling myself. With an 11pm bedtime, I'm handicapping myself with only 8 hours of sleep, rather than my required 9. In fact, the longer I go with too little sleep, the more fatigued I become overall. I haven’t woken up rested once since she’s been on this early kick, and it’s just because I’m too stubborn to adjust my routine.

Why do we do that? Why don’t we listen to the signals our bodies send, and react accordingly? This is about as simple as it gets – getting up an hour earlier in the morning means you go to bed an hour earlier at night. But it’s so difficult to adjust when we don't want to accept that things have changed in the first place. 

I can think of a dozen examples where I was a late adopter to change - food to which I was having an allergic reaction, work schedules that caused fatigue, medicines that caused GI upset, to-do lists that prompted unnecessary pain or swelling. I didn't want to change because I thought it would take too much effort.  I thought it would be a sign of losing control. Of course - what I didn't realize is that a) I was already exerting a ton of effort, trying to stave off the consequences, and b) I'd already lost control. 

Put in that light - it becomes pretty clear, doesn't it? I'm already getting up at 7am. The change has already occurred. Now I just have to take steps to embrace that change so that I can get on with living well.

So fatigued I will no longer be. Ten pm is the new 11pm, haven’t you heard? I will start my bed preparations at 9pm, and it will be "lights out" at 10pm from now on.

At least until she starts sleeping in again.

(I'm only human!)


2 comments:

  1. Hi Sara, I just wanted to say "I hear ya!" to your posts about children and sleeping. I was diagnosed with SLE when my son was 2.5 yo and my daughter was 6 months old. It was so difficult to be the mother that I wanted to be while at the same time dealing with this demanding illness. Little little children need us to be so flexible and available and unfortunately those are two things we can't always be! That was four years ago and while the bad news is that nobody naps at all anymore the good news is that they are able to get up in the mornings on their own. Usually they just play until about 8 when I get up. So you have that to look forward to! Good luck :)

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  2. Betsy - Thanks so much for commenting! Good to know that there will come a time when the girls don't demand our undivided attention the moment they open their eyes in the morning. We're learning to "appreciate" the fact that they love us SO much they want to be with us immediately, but we will welcome the time when everyone can fend for themselves for just a little bit in the morning. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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