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!)