I was rather surprised by the response to my post where I talked all about sleep. Y’all, we have a lot of thoughts and feelings about sleep, top sheets, and pillows. (Way too many of you sleep with one flat pillow, and I don’t even understand that life.) It was fun to read all the comments and all your strong feelings about sleep. As my friend Steph put it, “Who knew sleeping was a topic that people could talk about so much?!” Apparently, it’s a hot topic!
So, I’m happy to continue this topic with Part II and this one is even longer than Part I. Oops! I have a lot to say about sleep!
My Ideal Sleep Schedule
I’ve thought about this a lot. If I could have my ideal sleep schedule, what would it look like? And here’s what I’ve discovered:
- I’d like to wake up early – ideally around 5AM. I’d get a bunch of work done in these early morning hours. These are when I am productive and creative and focused.
- Then, I’d take a nap around 9AM. There is nothing in the world I love more than a mid-morning nap. There’s something about them. I fall into a deep sleep and when I wake up, I still have the majority of my day left.
- I’d wake up from this mid-morning nap around noon and get on with my day.
- I’d go to bed around 10:30PM. It’s always such a struggle for me to get to bed early and a 10:30 bedtime is my norm lately and that feels good (and it would feel better if I could take my mid-morning nap every day, haha).
However, I do not have a life conducive to this schedule. I guess that’s one of the perks of working for yourself but, alas, I am not cut out for that. Instead, I work a regular 9-to-5. For this schedule, I wake up at 5AM on the days I work out and between 6-6:30AM on the days I do not. Ideally, I would go to bed by 9PM if I’m waking up early the next day for a workout, and 10PM if I know I’ll get an extra hour-ish of sleep. That doesn’t seem like a pie-in-the-sky dream – it’s very doable! I just need to manage my time better when I get home from work so that I’m ready to start winding down in the 8:00 hour.
How I Deal with Lack of Sleep
There have been two times in my life where I have had to deal with lack of sleep – the year I had insomnia and the last year of Dutch’s life.
I don’t really know how I functioned the year I had insomnia. I was in sixth grade and I think I managed to get Principal’s List one semester that year, Honor Roll all of the other semesters. So, apparently, it didn’t affect my education. I also rode my bike to and from school (it was about a mile) and I don’t remember that being a big deal. Hmm.
During the last year of Dutch’s life, I never knew how well or not well he was going to sleep. There were nights when he would spend an hour or two rearranging himself in bed over and over again. There were nights when he woke me up at 1am, needing to go out, and then he would be restless for an hour before he finally fell back asleep. It was never consistent and eventually I put him on medication to help him sleep.
So, how did I deal with that? Honestly, I just put on my big girl pants and handled it. There’s nothing you can really do when you’re not getting proper sleep, especially if it’s due to an outside force like a baby or an elderly dog. It’s also way different when you’re not getting sleep due to an old dog because I knew the only way I would get a good night’s sleep again was when Dutch died, and I didn’t want that. So I just dealt with it. I took naps when I could. Sometimes, I used sick time to go home and take a nap in the afternoon because I was barely functioning. And I gave myself lots of grace, telling myself that my job was to take care of this sweet, sweet pup in the last months of his life and there was nothing in the world more important than that. My job was to make sure he was comfortable, felt safe, and knew I was always there. (And now I’ll move on before we’re all crying! Ack!)
How I Sleep on Vacation
This is one of my strengths! I have never struggled with sleeping on vacation, thankfully. I typically wake up early (I’m always one of the early risers during girls trips), but that’s pretty normal for me anyway. I will say that I am always, always happy to come home and sleep in my own bed when vacation is over. (There is truly nothing better than that first post-vacation rest in my own bed.) And I always feel a little out-of-sorts when I’m falling asleep on vacation. It’s just that weird feeling of being in an unfamiliar environment and on an unfamiliar bed (and there are never enough pillows to satisfy me).
However, sleeping on vacation is totally different if I’m traveling with someone I’m dating. It definitely takes me longer to fall asleep and I feel like I wake up more frequently throughout the night. I think it’s just because I’m not used to sharing my bed and I’m trying to be mindful of how I look, and if I’m snoring, and if I’m hogging the blanket. There’s just a lot of awkwardness to sleep, ha, and it’s made even worse when you’re trying to sleep next to someone you’re attracted to. 😉
Snoring and Drooling
I can’t remember if the hosts of The Girl Next Door talked about snoring and drooling when they sleep, but I’m going to talk about it because I do both. Oh yes, I can’t tell you how sexy I feel when I wake up next to a pile of drool on my pillow. It’s an unfortunate reality of my life. I think it’s mostly due to my sleep position (side sleepers tend to be more drooly than stomach or back sleepers), and I have lots of girlfriends who assure me they are droolers at night too.
And, yes, I am a snorer. I am super self-conscious about my snoring because a romantic partner once joked about it to me constantly (meanwhile, homeboy was a snorer as well but I was nice enough not to say anything about it) and it just hit my sensitivity button. So now, when I’m on a trip with my girlfriends, I always volunteer for the couch because I’m so worried about keeping my friends up all night with my snoring (even though almost all of them have snoring husbands/partners and tell me frequently that it wouldn’t bother them).
How I Dream
I would like for people to stop insisting that they don’t dream. Everyone dreams and if you really don’t, then you’re not reaching REM sleep ever and that’s a real big problem. We have multiple dreams every night, but odds are, we just forget them. We typically only remember the dreams that are super wacky or super scary. (Case in point: I recently dreamed about going to a NYE party where everyone had to be killed off one by one, and the people at the party were the ones who had to do the killing. Do you see why I don’t watch scary movies?! My subconscious is a scary enough place to be!)
I actually love talking about dreams, how we dream, and the meaning behind what we dream. I truly think they are often related to the things we’re going through in our life. For example, at the end of 2018, I had numerous dreams about death, and they were so explicit and tragic that I had to look up what it all meant. Dreaming about death often symbolizes transformation, new beginnings, and positive inner changes. It felt so symbolic when I looked at these dreams this way. I was emerging from a miserable year full of loss and heartache and depression… and my subconscious was telling me that I would be transformed in this new year. It would be a year of rebirth for me. So yeah, I’m very resolute in my opinion that everyone dreams and our dreams matter in the grand scheme of things.
What I Set My Thermostat at for Sleep
I can only get a good night’s rest when my apartment is seriously cold. My thermostat is set at 73 degrees, and if it’s even one degree higher, I will notice the difference and not be able to sleep well. I realize how ridiculous I probably sound, but I am not wiling to budge on this point (thankfully, the one time I lived with a roommate, she was happy to keep the apartment set at a temperature that was most comfortable for me. See also: she ruined me for all other roommates.) For me, this means higher energy bills than is typical for an apartment my size but I am so willing to pay for that comfort. (EDIT: I got a few comments about my thermostat setting. I live in Florida, my friends. When I say my thermostat is set at 73 degrees, I’m talking about AC. I use my heater RARELY – like I can count on one hand how many times I’ve turned it on and usually only for a few hours until the apartment has warmed up a bit. I realize that I wrote this post in the middle of winter, so everyone else is thinking about heaters. Ha. Nope. That 73 degrees is for AC!)
Are you a snorer or drooler? What’s your thermostat set at for nighttime?