How many times have we heard, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead?” Who didn’t have that mentality in high school and college? You feel invincible—churning and burning—volunteering, studying, sports, reaching for straight-A’s (the straight-A’s part was never me, BTW). There’s a part of that sentence that we tend to read over too quickly because we are so used to it…burning.
Upon graduating college, I found myself in an incredible opportunity, working crazy hours, including weekends. While I had great flexibility in making my own schedule, my longest week clocked in at 90 hours. I occasionally got 7-8 hours of sleep but most nights fell short. It was an endless cycle. Three nights of good mixed with a few bad and my circadian rhythm was like WTF!? At the end of a four year ride, I knew I needed consistency. It came one morning when I woke up and just about collapsed. I realized I hadn’t eaten a hot meal in two days. I was burned out.
Last month, I read an article in Parade about Arianna Huffington who revealed that because she had experienced exhaustion, her “secret to success” was…sleep. While our lives are on very different parallels, I’m like, if this multi-millionaire can afford 7 to 8 hours of sleep, so I can I. So can YOU.
My experience in management right out of college was invaluable, and I wouldn’t change it. I learned a lot, and probably grew up faster than I had intended. It’s taken me a long time to find the balance that my life has required. Some days, it can be incredibly difficult. And it has taken a lot of a “no bullshit” attitude. Similarly, Arianna mentioned making tradeoffs. Yes, that includes, “it is within our control.” She leaves dinner parties early if it intervenes with her sleep schedule. And makes a great common sense reminder, “If you’re going out partying one night, organize your life around what time you go to bed the next night.” I totally think this is do-able. For me, since I’m an 8-hour gal, on the weekends, if I am out late, no matter what time I go to bed, I set my alarm for 8 hours later, so I don’t throw off my whole rhythm by sleeping too late past my normal wake up time. Let’s say your M–F bedtime is 11:00 p.m. and you wake up at 7:00 p.m. every morning. You go out one weekend, and unexpectedly decide it’s about to go down and 7 shots later, you’re walking into your apartment at 1:30 a.m. After you chug a glass of water, set your alarm for 9:30 a.m., you’re only sleeping 2 ½ hours past your normal wakeup time and you’ll be tired enough to go to bed at your normal 11:00 p.m., or perhaps, even earlier. It’s a pretty simple concept. I have no idea if this is science backed, since all of the articles I read suggest waking up at your normal wakeup time on the weekends. While that is great and all, I believe in keeping it real. 5:37 a.m. for me on a Saturday is not going to happen.
The Stud calls me “old and boring,” when I turn in promptly at 10:00 p.m., but he knows deep down that my mind won’t churn well if I am burned. Plus, put very plainly, too many sleepless days brings out a bitch in me. My current vice president’s favorite line is “sleep is a weapon.” Indeed, it is.
The Stud and I are very excited for annual our lake trip this upcoming weekend, not sure if we will catch up on much sleep, or sleep at all, but you better believe come Sunday eve, I'll be in bed at my usual 10:00 p.m....if not earlier!
Here are a few other great articles I have read about sleep:
1. Why you should get up earlier
2. How sleep deprivation is ruining your life