My Craziest Idea Yet: Sleeping

Where I should be spending 1/3 of my life.

The idea goes that I spend so many hours with my kids, I need time to myself to function properly, even if this means giving up adequate sleep to get said alone time.

I recently realized that this is an entirely untested hypothesis.

What if I actually function better if I get adequate sleep but sacrifice some of my precious Me time?

I really have never tried this for more than two nights in a row. I just can’t seem to give up the reading or blogging or blog-reading that fills the hours between the kids’ bedtime at 8:30 and 12 or 1 when I finally go to bed myself. What’s really awesome is when I go back and spend an hour reading my old blog posts. Yes, that is a very good use of my time. Or when I start some movie or tv show on Netflix and then lose interest or get bogged down by how weird it is for real people to be acting out stories in front of a camera so that I can sit in my pjs in front of my laptop and watch them pretending to be someone else. (Apparently, this is what happens when I get away from television for long enough: the entire concept seems weird to me. Which in itself is a profound shift because I used to totally rock the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game and now I can hardly recognize the names of the current stars. Or even the current movies.)

But I don’t go to bed feeling fulfilled. I feel tired and irritable and greedy for more time to waste. In the morning I’m all of those things plus resentful of my children for taking me away from my alone time. I’ve been snapping at the kids and just in general not being a very engaged and pleasant mommy.

This evidence suggests that my current “it’s worth being tired if I get to do nothing much for several hours every night” hypothesis isn’t working out very well.

My new hypothesis is this: If I get adequate sleep, I’ll be able to feel happier with my children during the day and make better use of the time I have to myself because I have less of it and won’t be so tempted to squander it.

To test this hypothesis, I will be going to bed at 9:30 every night for a month. Okay, well, maybe for a week. And if that works out alright, I’ll try it for two weeks. Then for a third, and with any luck, make it to a full month.

During this one- to four-week period, I will go to bed at 9:30 even if that means I don’t get to finish a blog post every evening. I’ll go to bed on time even if it means it takes me a full week to read a novel. (In this way, I suppose it will be in line with my focus on simplicity, too.)

I know that this will be a challenge. But I’m hopeful that once I’m more well-rested I’ll be better able to maintain routines during the day, which will benefit my children’s moods and my own. I hope that I will lose some of this brain fog and fatigue-related…you know, that thing where you can’t remember things? Not insomnia… Not magnesia…

At any rate, maybe I’ll be able to think more clearly and be more effective when I go to try to do something with my brain.

And maybe I’ll even be able to get some reading or blogging in during the day while the kids are up because they’ll be happy to spend some time playing quietly on their own after spending high-quality time with their new and improved non-zombie Mommy!

But I’m not holding my breath on that one.

What I’m really hoping is that I can actually follow my experimental design. Even during that year when my daughter was up at 4:30 every morning I couldn’t bring myself to go to bed at a decent hour. But I’m nothing if not inconsistently persistent.

So, here goes nothing! I’ll let you know how I do.

8 Replies to “My Craziest Idea Yet: Sleeping”

  1. Sleep vs. alone time. The age old question in this house. One thing I found to work well is audiobooks on my mp3. If everything/one in the house is running smoothly I’ll pop in earphones while I cook/clean/chop wood/whatever and it feels a little bit like I’m alone. But I understand the need for sleep and the beast one can become after years of not enough. I’ll be watching to see how it goes for you.


    1. I’ve tried the audiobooks, but not the headphones. Not sure why I didn’t think of headphones. I have to pick a different audiobook than I’m listening to now, though. I’m on the second disk of the Dalai Lama’s How to See Yourself as You Really Are and it’s incredibly difficult for me to follow (much less digest) when listening to it (vs reading it).


  2. 1:29 am – I can’t even begin to imagine. I will definitely be following along as you report on this experiment. May you have lovely dreams.


  3. I occasionally think that is a good plan but then I get distracted from it and start staying up stupid late again. I do think more sleep helps my attitude, generally.


  4. You know what was the best? When I was nursing, those hormones were GREAT. I could go to bed at 2 AM (Cam would go in at about 11, and I would actually WRITE for that WHOLE TIME!!!), wake up at 4 AM, go back to bed, get up at 8, and I was feeling good.

    Sigh. I am far past those days. Let me know how that sleep thing goes. I have not been able to bring myself to do it. Not only does it take away from the “me” time, but it takes away from my time with the husband too. I would really like to be “in bed” at 10, which means that I am sitting in bed reading at that point. I need to think more about this because I wanted to make an ew year’s resolution (I think that is one of the all time best typos ever, so I am leaving it) out of it. I am already resolving to do flylady–REALLY do it this time. And several other things as well. 2012 is going to be a good year, I can feel it. And since the world is going to end as it closes, I really want to have my life figured out by then, you know?


    1. Yes, I’m not sure nursing has helped me need less sleep. I think it’s more that I’ve grown accustomed to getting less sleep than I need, so I don’t notice so much that I’m tired.

      And luckily (I guess), I’m not losing time with my husband by hitting the hay early. He usually goes to bed by 9 or 9:30 anyway (he gets up at 4:30 or 5am), so most of the evening hours are “alone” hours for me anyway. Time alone with my husband just doesn’t really happen regularly right now. But that’s pretty much okay for the moment. It’ll happen eventually.

      Incidentally, I’ve said, “To heck with flylady.” Once I get a handle on my kid-related routines, I’ll see about putting more focus on house stuff. I can imagine a time when it might happen, but for now, I just can’t seem to convince myself that organizing and cleaning my house is as much of a blessing to my kids as spending time being present with them. I’m still shining my sink, though, and wearing my indoor shoes. And making my bed. And enforcing a bedtime for myself. So I guess she’s had an influence on me even if I’m not zone cleaning and hooking a timer to my waistband.

      Oh, and that was an awesome typo.


      1. I have a feeling that the reason I keep failing at FlyLady is that it just isn’t that important to me… My house is usually clean ENOUGH, it’s just not perfect. Well, this week, it’s positively horrendous, but as long as no one comes over, it’ll be our secret ;).


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