enough sleep

I reckon this year I’ve been struggling with getting “enough sleep” more than any other year since leaving uni. “Enough sleep”, I think, is rather arbitrary and subjective. Most nights I quite possibly only get 6 or 6.5 hours of sleep. I generally feel fine during the day; it’s just the initial waking up and getting out of bed that’s hard – really hard – but only on week-days… On week-days, waking up after 6.5 hours of sleep, it is the easiest thing to fall right back to sleep. On the week-end, however, without an alarm, I’ll wake up after about 6 hours of sleep, and I’ll be almost wide awake. It is quite annoying how that happens.

Believe it or not, I didn’t actually intend for this post to be about sleep. Well, to be fair, I don’t really know what I’d intended for this post to be about. Kind of just felt like I needed to write something – anything.

And here I am, not sleeping. It’s approaching 11pm; I probably should’ve gone to bed at least half an hour ago. I think this night owl business started somewhere in uni, and I just never readjusted. Maybe it started before then, but at least in high school I never really had to get up that early (thank-you 9:15am starts). These days, leaving the house by about 7am is normal. Back in high school, I’d probably only just be getting out of bed, or just brushing my teeth at 7am.

I tell myself that I should sleep earlier, and I make plans to – I think through what I need to get done (really, though, what do I ever really need to get done at night?) and I think about the timeframe I’ve got before missing the “reasonable bedtime” mark – but sometimes plans are just that. (But please don’t get the wrong idea – I do follow my plans a lot of the time too.)

I suppose it usually ends with some elaborate bargaining/negotiating process. Perhaps I’m writing a new blog post (like I am tonight) or working on part of the story I’ve been writing this year (not as often as I’d like to admit), but sometimes I’m just reading blogs or watching music videos/performances on YouTube. More often, recently, I’ve been staying up to read novels because I’m starting to get that little bit more panicky about how many books I want to read, and about how few I’ve read this year (four; onto my fifth one at the moment). Whatever it is, I tell myself that another five or ten minutes won’t hurt. I tell myself that it’s worth it to finish what I’m on, and I’ll still survive the next day just fine with 10 minutes less sleep.

More often than not, that 10 minutes turns into half an hour, and I feel it the next morning when my alarm goes off.

But I regret nothing.

It’s just that there’s this little voice somewhere in the back of my mind that says, “come on, you can do better; try to sleep earlier tonight”.

The rational part of me knows that sleep is good – for so many things – but the rational part also appreciates the importance of writing and music and reading and not being so hard on myself for letting ten minutes turn into thirty.

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5 thoughts on “enough sleep

  1. I am much older than you and they say that, as you get older, you need less sleep. Bull. Maybe when you are 80. I become a monster if I don’t sleep properly and, in the last few months, the medication I am taking to suppress estrogen is causing havoc with my sleep. As I don’t want to take sleeping pills, I find that valerian or lavender oil capsules work well: they relax me and help me go to sleep faster. I have also noticed that reading my iPad before sleep is detrimental – a cartaceous book induces sleep better. Just think of all the lines you can prevent on your face by getting enough sleep. Catherine Deneuve used to say that the best beauty recipe is sleeping in excess of 8 hours a night (for the vain in all of us…)

    • Some nights I take a magnesium supplement, and that seems to help me get better sleep, if not more sleep. Thankfully I don’t think I’m at the point of having to medicate beyond that (yet).

      Ah yes, the argument for sleep helping one’s appearance – that certainly surfaces in my mind from time to time. I think a lot of people my age still think they’re invincible to some extent.

  2. Sleep is tricky. I’ve always had a lot of trouble getting to sleep. I do better now. This is mostly because the medication I take for depression that helps me sleep, but I also have to be super careful about my bedtime routine because it still gets away from me if I do that wrong.

    • Funnily enough, after writing this post, I think I’ve been sleeping (a bit) better. I’ve probably jinxed it now, though.
      I don’t really have a bedtime routine beyond flossing and brushing my teeth. Maybe I should sort something out there.

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