Don’t you just love the weekends? Friday comes and the first thing on our minds is to celebrate. TGIF, right? And I’m no exception. Just last night I stayed up an hour and a half past my regular bedtime because we got caught watching a marathon session of a new murder mystery series. Both of us stumbled up to bed in a blur. Usually I read for 20 or 30 minutes before going to sleep. Not last night. It was lights-out immediately for me.
Then morning comes and my internal clock gets me up before six regardless of the day of the week. I rarely ignore that clock to stay in bed any more because I have learned through the school of hard knocks that sleeping in on the weekends absolutely ruins any hope of normal sleeping for the next two or three nights. Not so with my partner. He is the proverbial night owl and can stay awake long enough to check any late-arriving kiddo in. I have likely been asleep for hours.
But, he also posses the knack of sleeping in on the weekends. Unless we have something planned, he will sleep, usually until noon one or both days of the weekend.
Me, I’m just slightly sleep deprived over the weekend, especially if I go to bed two nights in a row past my bedtime. My partner manages to catch up on his sleep, but by Sunday night he has a problem. When bedtime rolls around, usually 10 in the evening, he’s not tired. “I’ll be up shortly,” he says. I used to believe him. Now I take the dog to bed who sleeps on his side until he’s booted off the bed several hours later.
My partner is the one paying the price for sleeping in because when Monday rolls around, he’s toast. He’s thrown his body clock so far out of whack that by Sunday evening he’s grumpy.
Because he knows that he’s not going to be tired at 10. He knows he should go to bed at 10. But he will probably stay up until after midnight because he can’t sleep. When the alarm rings on Monday morning at 6, he will be dealing with the horrors of sleep deprivation, because his weekend habit of sleeping in is a prime indication that he’s not getting enough sleep.
Our circadian rhythms…that internal body clock that we all have works to govern when we fall asleep and when we awaken. Because I have long suffered from insomnia, I have worked very, very hard to develop a regular sleep schedule. I do not deviate from it by more than an hour, even on the weekends. I go to bed at 10. I get up before 6.
If I need a nap during the day, I actually do a yoga nidra session rather than taking a two hour nap because it will ruin my carefully planned sleep schedule.
My partner will be predictably grumpy on Monday morning. Monday evening, he’s usually ready to go to bed by 10. By Wednesday, he’s doing a little better. He’s getting close to eight hours of sleep by then and Thursday and Friday, he’s actually a normal human being.
Until Friday night, when the whole cycle starts all over again. I used to try to follow his schedule, but health-wise, it didn’t work for me. Getting up between 5 and 6 in the morning is normal for me. So I must go to bed by 10. Staying up any later will make the next day difficult. But I adhere to my normal waking time.
I use no alarm clock. My body wakes me. Yes, I’m a little sleepy today, but I know that when my ten o’clock bedtime begins to arrive tonight, I will be very ready for bed.
Mondays pose no problem for me. But my partner still hasn’t quite figured it out. I’d tell him, but I’m afraid he’ll bite my head off.