When given the chance to sleep or stay up, what would you choose?
I spent many years preferring to stay up late, whether it was for last minute exam study or going out with my friends.
But once motherhood began, things quickly changed. I began craving sleep. I missed the opportunity to go to bed early, even if I chose not to when I had the chance. It wasn’t just the lack of sleep, but the inability to decide whether to go to sleep early or stay up late. My sleep patterns were completely out of my control!
Fast forward to now when my kids are older and not waking up during the night, and I find myself enjoying getting up early. And I mean super early- 5.30am most mornings.
I love this time of the day- most people (especially my kids) are still asleep, the sun is about to rise in the summer, and things seem calm. The calm before the storm.
This time of the morning is the best time to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, meditation or reading a book. I can enjoy a healthy breakfast without interruption. I can even have a relaxing shower in privacy!
Going to bed earlier and getting more sleep is also a great way to start living a healthier life.
As we get older, we value sleep for what it is- the chance for our bodies to rest and recuperate. While we may not need as much sleep as a newborn baby, we certainly feel the impact of a lack of sleep, especially if we’re parents.
I’m grumpy if I don’t sleep enough. I snap more, have less patience and am more prone to making mistakes (forgetting which child prefers Nutella sandwiches and which child prefers peanut butter).
Things always seem worse when I’m tired- it’s the end of the world, please pass me the tissues. But then I think, “Tomorrow is another day”, and after a good night’s sleep, whatever’s been troubling me will seem a whole less important.
My kids, on the other hand, love the idea of staying up late! Late nights, when you’re an older kid or teenager, seem like fun.
You want to stay up and see what normally happens in the world while you’re sleeping!
And if you can’t make it to midnight, you can fall asleep wherever you are, knowing that your parents will carry you back to bed and tuck you in. And maybe, if you’re lucky enough and it’s the weekend, you’ll be allowed to sleep in too.