Thursday, March 10, 2016

Sweet, Sweet Slumber

How much sleep does a person need to feel human the next day?

Depending on who you ask, the number of hours varies wildly. I know people who freely admit to needing 8 or 9, and those who claim they can get by on four, even less. These guys are clearly insane. I’m in the 8 hour club. I can get by on less, and I’m not cranky when sleep-deprived, but I will nap later. Don’t bother me.

Parents cry over missed sleep. My husband and I went through the usual years of sleepless nights – feeding and crying and vomiting and nightmares – but our kids were pretty good sleepers, naps and all. I believed for a long time that my son would still take naps if it weren’t for school. They went to bed early and woke early, which was a problem if I stayed up late. And until they were in early elementary years they went through phases where one of them could be found standing over my blissfully-dozing form at three in the morning a couple times a week: “Mom? I got awake.”

Now that they’re t(w)eenagers they’re back to taking naps, and they stay up later than me, despite my repeating go to bed go to bed go to bed. They don’t bother me in the wee hours anymore, for now. I guess this will change when they start going out at night, at which point every single seasoned parent tells me I probably will not sleep until they are safely home. But for now, if I don’t get enough sleep, it’s my fault.

Like last weekend, for instance. We stayed up late one night with friends, and the next night I stayed up late to watch TV. I added up the hours slept and it was well under what I am used to, so I went to bed super early the next night to make up for it. And the next. And the next. And the next.

I’m finally caught up.

Does it work like that? Can stealing time from normal awake time to sleep really make up for sleep time lost in the past?

It works for me.

I wonder if it works the other way around – like, if I sleep extra hours now, by the time my kids start going out all hours of the night, rendering me sleep-deprived while they run wild through the world sowing their oats, by then I will be able to get by on less sleep, allowing me to rip into them with all my faculties when they turn up 17 minutes late after curfew.

It’s a good plan.

Time for a nap.


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This post inspired by:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt #2: Write a blog post inspired by the word sleep.

14 comments:

  1. I like your plan! But it reminds me that when my 17yo goes off to college I'll have no one but myself to blame if I'm sleep-deprived. I'm really dreading being an empty-nester :(

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    1. I imagine the first few nights after my kids move away I'll stay up realllllly late just because I can, and then regret it for a week.

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  2. Naps are awesome. I'm taking them every day right now, and I don't know how I will manage when I have to go back to work!

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    1. It's hard to get out of that routine, isn't it? I envy people who live in places where naps are required. Places like this exist, don't they?

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  3. I'm an 8 hour girl too! I get fuzzy headed on much less. You definitely get more shut eye as the kids get older, but then when they're teens and even older, it reverts back a bit. My kids are in their 20's and even when they aren't here, I'll wake up and then stay awake worrying about one thing or another about them. So really, if you have kids, your sleep is bound to be disrupted pretty much your whole life.

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    1. This was NOT in the parenting handbook I received.

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  4. I am constantly trying to play catch up on sleep! I admire those who stay structured with their sleep patterns... I keep telling myself that as I get older, I need to honor this aging body and get to bed EARLIER! I'm just grateful for naps...

    #LongLiveNaps

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  5. I wish I could be a napper, but it just leaves me groggy and cranky, defeating the purpose. Great post!

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    1. Thank you! I have to be careful with napping, too. Nap too long and I'm awake all night, ruining my carefully curated sleep cycle.

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  6. I love the idea of banking sleep so that I can be alert later when necessities keep me up! Let me know if it works ...

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    1. The research part of this idea is extremely attractive.

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  7. I think we're in the same sleep club right now and I like it! I wish I took more naps though.

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  8. I am an avid and accomplished napper. I can (and will) sleep anywhere (maybe not there, because ew, what's that spot?). At night, I'm in bed around midnight, back up at 6:30, at work by 8. I try to go to bed earlier but it doesn't seem to work as far as catching up.

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