All my life I can remember being plagued by irregular sleep patterns. Naturally I like to stay up late and sleep in late. I go through short cycles where I’m motivated to wake up early and go to bed at a decent hour. But it never lasts. After a few weeks I’m back to my old night owl-ing ways.
Because night owls tend to sleep in to account for the hours they don’t sleep during the night, they can often be accused of being lazy. People can also use being a “night owl” as an excuse for laziness but let me tell ya. For the true members of the B-Society (what Scandinavians call night owls) laziness is not the issue. Late night productivity is something myself and, i’m sure, many others pride themselves on. I can get more than enough done between the hours of 11pm -2am to make up for the morning hours I like to opt out of.
Another curse of having irregular sleep patterns is waking up at any and all hours of the night. We’ve all experienced the “3:23am and your wide awake” sensation. My own such experience is what inspired this blog. I’ve been driven to research as to why this happens and how to make the most of your own sporadic wakefulness
Scientists say that 2 – 6 wake ups during the night is normal. Many occur for a biological reason such as you have to pee, or you’re too hot, or indigestion. Others are for no reason at all, these ones you don’t often remember because you just roll over and go back to sleep. But what about when you cant fall back asleep? What do you do?
If you can’t fall back to sleep within 20 minutes it’s actually best to get out of bed. The awakeness (probably not a word, dont care, you know what i mean) you feel is a weird random burst of energy, Your body doesn’t feel like it needs to sleep anymore and sometimes you need to get up to show it the difference.
The first thing you should do when you get up is make your bed. Odd as it seems, this will benefit you when you go back to it later. This will subliminally tell your brain that it is going to bed AGAIN (as if on another night) instead of going BACK to bed. It will look at it as a new sleep instead of resuming a crappy one.
While you are up, as tempting as it may be DO NOT turn on your phone or computer. The light from the screen (yada yada yada you’ve heard this before, but it’s true!!) messes with your melatonin levels and you will make going back to sleep much harder.
The best thing you can do is a relaxing activity such as stretching, reading, or just sit in on the couch and listen to quiet music (but don’t fall back asleep there). Or engage in a rather mundane task, like assembling your breakfast or lunch, folding laundry or unloading the dishwasher. This will put your brain into autopilot mode and eventually make you ready for bed again. I like this idea in particular because it means one less thing you will have to do during the day. You can make your day a little easier by compensating for the awkward sleep you had.
Next time someone gives you flack for sleeping in, tell them about all the things you got done before 6am.