Friday, April 27, 2012

Coming in May: Sleep Challenge

This is me with Ruthie in January 2007. I had an excuse for missing sleep back then.

A co-worker and I were talking a couple of years back about the little quirks and tics of some of the other people we work with. Most of the things we were coming up with were things that annoyed us. I asked her, "I wonder what they would say about us."

"Well," she replied, "you're kind of funny about sleep."

Funny is one way to put it. Obsessed is another.

I love sleep. I've never done any formal or informal testing to try to determine the amount of sleep that's ideal for me, but based on past experience my guess is somewhere around 8-11 hours in a 24-hour period, depending on how much I'm running.

Since I had my kids five years ago, I've gotten nowhere near that amount. At first, of course, with tiny babies, there really wasn't much choice in the matter. You get what sleep you can, when you can. But once my kids grew out of that newborn stage, they got to be pretty good sleepers pretty fast. Sure, we have lapses, when one is sick or when my son is on a bedwetting jag. Sometimes they have a nightmare or need help in the bathroom overnight. But mostly we can count on them to go to bed around 7:30 p.m. and sleep until 6:30 or 7 the next morning (my daughter, a morning person like me, gets up with the sun, so this time of year she's up on the earlier side of that).

So why am I still not getting enough sleep (my occasional problem with insomnia aside)?

Because I haven't made it a priority. Once the kids are down, I like to putter on the computer, hang out with my husband (a total night owl--this is the only way in which he and I are ill-matched), read or (lately) do physical therapy stuff that I didn't get done earlier. By the time I head to bed, it's often after 10 p.m. and sometimes pushing 11 p.m.

Now, I think, is a good time to start pushing my bedtime to where it really needs to be: 9 p.m., or 9:30 p.m. at the latest. This is the time that will allow me to rise comfortably for my workouts at 5 a.m. and give me a nice extra cushion on mornings where I don't have to do that.

So my challenge for the long month of May will be to go to bed by 9:30 p.m. on nights when I have to wake up early the next morning, which is usually three or four days per week. It will set up good habits that will carry over when I return to running and training for races, and it will be better for my health overall.

How much sleep do you need? Are you getting it, and if not, why not? Care to join me in May to try and change that?

All you have to do is email me your sleep goal (which may be different from mine) by the evening of April 30 (next Monday). I will check in with you via email every week to see how you are doing. At the end of the month, I'll have a small prize for the person who comes closest to meeting his or her goal.

19 comments:

  1. Oh I'd better not play because I'm already slamming my sleep goal. I'm in bed at 9:30 and up at 5. Every day. It may be a tad ok a lot geezerly but it works for me. : )

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  2. HOly crap!  Good luck with that.  By the time I get home, get dinner on, picked up and kids homework finished, read, brush their teeth, get them into bed, it's already 8:30 and I haven't even had any time to myself yet!  I cherish that 9-10:30 time when no one bugs me. 

    I'll never be a 5 a.m. exerciser.....

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  3. My sleep goal is get enough to live.  I so wish I could take you up on this challenge, but I have a really awesome excuse why I can't!  Before pregnancy, I used to be in bed by 8, sleep between 9-9:30 and up at 5.  Oh, and I slept through the night.  Memories.

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  4. I think I am a little obsessed with sleep to, i love it so much!  I like to be in bed by 9 pm and when I get tired I am a bearcat, or so my husband says.  When I decide I want to be sleeping I am no longer fun to be around. 

    I will have to think about a goal!

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  5. That's such a great idea! I am obsessed with sleep too... I usually need 8-9 hours a night, but have been staying up later than usual for the last few months reading, blogging, whatever-ing... I'm in! 

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  6. When you get really old, you're going to find out what it's like to wake up at 3am and lay there for eternity.  It's almost like clock-work; I wake up, roll over and look at the clock - 3am.  Every now and then I can fall back to sleep but for the most part, I just lie there until I get the boys up at 5:30.  Bleh!!!!  I'm a zombie most day.  No way I could take you up on your challenge until I stop being old and the hormones are back in check!!  :/

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  7. Nevrquitneverstop.blgspot.comApril 27, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    I am bad about sleeping. Wife though gets 8-10 a night. She goes to Ed early, which is key.

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  8. Oh I soooooo have the same problem. And with longer days it only gets worse - We seem to eat dinner at 9, get the kiddo into bed at 10 (even at 5 she still naps, so she goes to bed later at night - it's a trade-off), get ourselves to bed 11ish, read for a bit, to sleep by 11:30ish - If we're lucky...and if it's hot the next day or I have piles of end-of semester grading to do, but it's up at 5 am! I'll take the challenge! I'm just not sure how to do it :(

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  9. Amen to all of this! I need a solid 8 as well. I'm in! If I don't get a chance to e-mail you, my goal is 9:30 bedtime as well--regardless of what time I get up! Since I'm injured, I obviously don't need to get up for a 5 am run. YAY! Hey, I'll take the silver lining wherever it is. 

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  10. I am a PITA when I don't get enough sleep! I am doing a relay next weekend and I have the 1 am leg and I am already feeling grumpy about it! Other than that though, I tend to get a good amount of sleep, but I don't have to get up at 5 am, so that makes it a lot easier, since I can stay up a bit later. My norm is about 8 hrs these days. 

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  11. I'm in!  10:30 at the latest, but aiming for 10.  We'll see how this goes!

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  12. I am almost like you, I need 8/10 hours of sleep per day. It depends by the workouts.
    And if I have to get up early I go to bed at 09:30 p.m.. This is usual because I swim or run before going to work.
    Very interesting post. Thank you.

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  13. I have five kids and no matter how exhausted I feel, the second they go to bed I feel an incredible renewal of energy and I end up staying up later than I'd planned.

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  14. All though I would love another hour or so of sleep everyday I don't see it happening. I already go to bed between 9-9:30 but I'm usually up around 4:20 if I plan to exercise 5:20 if not. Weekends I try really hard to stay in bed later and have found if I read for awhile when I wake up at 5 I can sometimes go back to sleep until 7....heaven. :)

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  15. Sounds like we are similar with our nocturnal tenancies.  I would prefer to go to bed by 9, but often don't until 10 or later.  One cause is Big Bang Theory reruns at 9:30 every night.  My wife and I love that show.  Have you seen it?

    Anything over 8 might be best, but I think 7 - 8 hours of sleep per night would do it for me.

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  16. I'm so jealous of your planned sleep schedule.  I should try to join you and try going to bed earlier.  Avery always is up by around 5:30.  So, why am I awake and commenting on your blog at 11:38pm?  LOL!

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  17. oh boy sleep ..that is hard for me.  I dont get enough.  I am a very stressed person.  I have a have a hard time falling asleep and I am a light sleeper.  so 5 hrs is a good night.  Saturday I slept 9 hours! I sometimes have to take sleep aid.  that is a lie not sometimes...often...

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