Why Do We Need So Much Sleep?

Man, there are some days I’m jealous of Rachel Ray, and other people like her who don’t need sleep.

I had a friend in college who slept 3 hours a night. One of my yoga students was the same way. (Both men. Coincidence?) I asked them what they did with all their time. One said that he worked two jobs. The other said that he spent a lot of time reading (and man, was he smart!)

Recently, I’ve been able to get a good … oh, 1 hour of work in a day. At night, starting at around 10pm or so, when people who don’t sleep do their best work, I’m a zombie.

It’s not like I spend the day working like a dog. Or non-stop go go go (although some days are like that). I am pretty good at balancing. But 10pm is my pumpkin time. Sometimes as early as 9. And I’m worthless. I can’t make a coherent thought.

And, on the rare occasions that something gets my attention and I “wake up” after 9pm, I then have insomnia when I try to get to sleep later. The kind of insomnia where I’m exhausted, but I can’t sleep. Then morning comes, and I don’t want to leave my bed.

My kids have evolved into a later schedule. They wake up around 8 or 9 in the morning, go to bed around 10. Unfortunately, I need as much sleep as they do. So I can’t sneak work in while they are sleeping.

So I try to squeeze in “me” time during the day. Like right now. We have 10 minutes until it’s time to head out to gymnastics. The kids are playing a game, and I’ve snuck back to my puter to whip up this entry.

How much sleep do you need? Are you able to work when the kids are asleep? When do you find time to do “me” stuff? And what about things like bills, and phone calls, and errands and all that? What about a part-time job or a freelancing career? (Is my quest for good ideas too transparent?)

And your kids – do you have any kids who only sleep a few hours (and are totally fine without much sleep, not sleep deprived)?

One of the advantages to homeschooling is that we can sleep when we want to – when we need to. How do your family members’ sleep patterns affect your homeschooling/living/learning/schedule?

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10 Responses to “Why Do We Need So Much Sleep?”

  1. Sheri Says:

    How relevant can you get?

    I woke up at 2:30 am again this morning, just like yesterday, just like I do for several days every couple of months.

    I’m beginning to wonder if my sleeplessness is due to my cycle…but that’s maybe fodder for another post.

    No, I don’t get much done when my kids are asleep because they are 19 and 12 and I am usually in bed before they are.

    And yes, because we homeschool, I do my very best to get some “me” time during the day to work on what “I NEED” to work on but it doesn’t always happen.

    I generally require at least 6 solid hours of sleep to be functional…to be agreebable 7 or 8…to be pleasant at least 9 and to be vibrant and refreshed…well, I’ve never been allowed that much sleep so I have no idea.

    Great Post!

  2. Tana Says:

    I get up at 5:00 a.m. (or at least that’s when the alarm goes off) in order to have me time at my best time of day. Then come 9:00 or 9:30 in the evening, I’m in bed sound asleep. I am not a night owl. My strategy is to do the important stuff early, and then just go about my day the rest of the time. I also knit daily which is my “meditation” when I clear my mind and do creative planning or solve pesky problems. That knitting time is pivotal to my effectiveness. A simple list of things to do made at the beginning of the day during my knitting time makes my day so much more productive – following through and completing items on a list is so much easier than thinking of what I need to do when I’m dog-tired.

  3. Tammy Says:

    Sheri – Well, at least I know I’m not alone. What can we do? How can we make more time for ourselves and get enough sleep? I was hoping that after my kids grew up a little it would be easier. But, I hear you saying that it’s just as hard to get enough sleep, even when the kids are a little older.

    Tana – 5!!! OMG. That’s still the middle of the night. 😛 I’m in awe of your stick-to-it-ness.

    Knitting seems so calming. Looks like you’ve found a good way to get some quiet time in your day.

  4. Sheri Says:

    I’m with Tammy – 5:00 am is still the middle of the night to me.

  5. momlovesbeingathome Says:

    I’m with you guys about 5am – I don’t even know what 5am looks like!!! haha!

    I’m a night owl so I can stay up really late and be totally happy. I also require a lot of sleep though. I normally go to bed between 10pm and 12am but most of the time it’s somewhere around 11pm. I could stay up later but then I wouldn’t want to get up in the morning. 🙂 I get up at 8am so I normally get about 8-9 hours of sleep a night.

    My kids go to bed at about 10pm and get up at the same time as I do. Most of my “me” stuff I do during the day while they are working on school work. They are both older and work fairly independently most of the time so it allows me to do things that I need to do.

    Our whole family pretty much consists of night owls so there are days that we toy with the idea of staying up later at night and sleeping later in the morning but I just don’t want to push school back that late in the day. I have found that we don’t accomplish as much and we are rather sluggish if we sleep later in the morning so we keep the schedule the way it is. I also like to have us finished with school by mid-afternoon so that we can move on to other things. 🙂

  6. Karen Says:

    5 am? No way. If my eyes could even open at that hour, my brain certainly wouldn’t be in gear. It’s taken years and years, but dh has finally learned not to talk to me in the morning until sometime after 9! But I’m not a night owl, either. By 10 I need to be heading for bed. I need at least seven, preferably eight hours of beauty sleep. The more, the better!

  7. Megan Says:

    My sleep needs, sound exactly like yours, Tammy. I try to check my email after my 1 yr old’s bedtime, but I am an artist and there is no way I can drag myself to paint at night. I sleep from 10pm-7am, usually.

    My productive time is during mid morning, but my 6 yr old and 1yr old keep me busy busy. I try to paint during nap time. It used to be easier with one child, it takes a lot of discipline and organization to have everything prepped for paint time right at nap time. Now it is even more difficult as I try to also prep an art creating space for my 6 yr old so he can join me in the studio during nap time. I find that this is the only way to work it. In the summer, my husband who teaches at the university, is off, so he takes the boys while I paint.

    As far as me time, I crave quiet time, it’s so hard to create at this point. I try to plan a trip to the park or a hike every day where the boys are entertained and I can just sit and be. I don’t really feel fully unwound until they are both asleep at night. I try to enjoy some reading time but soon drift off to sleep.

    I have a couple of monthly women gatherings where my husband is committed to being with the boys. This is a life saver. I am sure me time will come back in the circle at some point more often…

  8. Tammy Says:

    Megan – Oh! Women gatherings! I need to do that.

    Won’t get my stuff written, but hey, maybe I’ll be able to deal better with the reality that it isn’t getting done when I have a little more chick-time once in a while?

  9. Sleep More « Rolfe Schmidt Says:

    […] I’ve read a couple of posts lately (Adventures in Home Learning, Just Enough)expressing relief that homeschooling frees you from the rigid schedules of school.  We can stay up […]

  10. annamaren Says:

    I don’t sleep much, unfortunately neither do my kiddos, they come by it honestly!
    I would never get anything done at all if I didn’t have my late night time to myself.
    I have always counted on being able to sleep when I am in my 80’s. ; )


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