I woke up this morning around 10.30am. Or rather, I spelt in until then, having woken up a couple of times before that, and then drifted in and out of sleep.
Whilst I’m without the structure of a regular job, I’m trying to be sensible during the week. The beginning of the week can be tricky, with my own version of the ‘Monday blues’ even though I’m not currently working; this comes from my desire to be getting out and going to work, like most folks are doing.
When I was working in recruitment, weekend lie-ins were to make up for the sleep debt that I’d accumulated during the working week; I’d be working 8.30am-6.00pm as a minimum, with 75-90mins of travel each way on top of that. When I got home, I inevitably wanted to stay up and unwind a little before going to bed. Thinking back, I was constantly exhausted and never really had quality time to myself, unless I mustered up the energy to go to the gym.
Right now, I don’t have much of an excuse to have a ‘sleep debt’. I’m someone who needs my sleep to function well, ideally a solid 8-9 hours. (they say that more than 9 hours can be – believe it or not – detrimental to our health; this may explain why lie-ins can leave you feeling tired/groggy after you wake up and/or during the day).
Whilst I seem to be more of a natural ‘night owl’, finding my flow and becoming more productive as the day progresses; if I wake up a little late and have a slow morning, I have to be careful as there’s a risk the day will turn into one of low productivity. Especially whilst it’s totally up to you to make each day count – i.e. with a boss/employer there putting pressure on you.
I used to think I was a late night worker/writer, as I enjoy the quiet that comes as night, and am able to work without noise or distractions. I was once fortunate enough to Skype with one of my favourite introvert bloggers and experts, Michaela Chung of Introvert Spring. She had a beautiful phrase to describe when she felt she was most focused with respect to getting her writing done – “on the edges of the day”. Or, in other words, early in the morning or at night.
For myself, and backed up by the sleep research out there, I’ve realised that the more I can stick to a firm schedule – weekday or weekend – the healthier this seems to be. Fluctuating sleep and wake times keep my body guessing and I already know that I don’t function well when I’ve had insufficient sleep. Yes, you can sleep in at the weekend, and hey – sometimes that’s OK to be a little loose and enjoy some precious more minutes in bed, however that can then throw your schedule when Monday morning comes around again. At least, it does for me.
In an ideal world, this is what my sleep schedule would look like:
– Go to bed between 10 and 11pm (i.e. head hitting pillow, any reading/writing in bed done beforehand)
– Getting into bed at 10pm or soon after, so I can read or write to unwind
– Waking up 7-7.30am; allowing me to be up and ready to go for 9am, whether at home or at work
– No phone or laptop after 8pm; I really notice that screen-time affects the quality of my sleep/grogginess; TV is also not ideal, but sometimes I like to watch something before I get into bed; If I need to stream something, I can use Chromecast to play it on my TV (rather than on the mobile screen)
– No phone/laptop in first 1-2 hours after waking up; after turning phone on, not looking at it (unless I get a call; notifications are muted) – so that I start the day consciously, in a proactive/creative mode, rather than a reactive mode, which is what happens when checking/responding to emails, social media or WordPress.
Note 1: I also have a Lumie Bodyclock, which helps me both sleep and wake up naturally, using it’s light (I feel myself nodding off as I read and the light gradually gets less and less bright, words on the page become increasingly illegible).
Note 2: I’ve also noticed that if I sleep at 11pm vs, say 1am, even if I get 9 hours of sleep in both instances, I feel better and more refreshed in the former scenario. i.e. I feel more tired the later I sleep, no matter how long I have slept.
In short, for me, a big weekend lie-in is not ideal. Perhaps I can afford an extra hour max (i.e. 9am latest) as a treat. Or in the rare instance that I have a late one (it happens!), of course it’s acceptable – I’m only human.
However, my aspiration is to stick to a routine, with the flexibility in timings that I’ve described, so that my mind and body are looked after, I am more productive and focused, and – most important of all – I feel better.
✏ Written: Friday, 2nd March 2018 @ 9.48pm
What about you? 🤷🏽♂️
Do you have a sleep schedule for the week? Is it different during the week vs the weekend? It’d be cool to hear what you’re routine is (or isn’t) like! 💙