The science of sleep, or something

Remember how I tackled my morning routine a couple of weeks ago? I am happy to report that I am still sticking to it (most days) and love the little bit of ‘down time’ with which I get to start my days now. In fact, I am kind of giddy to get up in the morning and to hear my coffee maker start automatically when I am in the bathroom getting ready. However, it has become blatantly clear to me that, while I love getting up a bit earlier to enjoy my mornings, I do have to work on my night routine. And with that, I mean my sleeping patterns.

As it stands, I get 6,5 hours of sleep right now (on average) during my work week and while this may be enough for a lot of people and I am able to function fine on 6,5 hours of sleep, I know that I would love to get at least 7 hours every night, 8 would be even better.
On the weekends, if I don’t have to be anywhere the next morning, I sleep anywhere from 8 to 12 hours a night – easily. They say that you can’t really ‘catch up’ on sleep, but I can only assume that this is what my body is doing.

The dilemma is this: I know I’ll always be tired in the morning if I don’t get enough sleep, but it’s so hard for me to implement an earlier bed time, because my evenings are always so short and there are so many things I want to do. I know that sleep should have as much, if not more, weight in the decision on how I spend my time when I am not at work, but during the week, it always gets cut short in favor of other activities/chores.

And then, to make it even more difficult, I think there is an adjustment period to a certain (longer) sleep pattern, because if I occasionally manage to pull myself away from the computer/TV/a book/J/you-name-it earlier than usual and head to bed early and actually do get more sleep during the night, I am typically even more exhausted the next morning than I usually am.

Does that sound familiar to anyone?

Maybe I do fine with 6,5 hours of sleep, maybe that is my “happy average”? But then why am I often tired in the morning? And why do I crash like this on the weekends? Is there even an average amount of sleep that makes us feel most energetic, or is this just a hypothesis and in fact unrealistic because our need for sleep changes with every day circumstances?

As I am still in the “testing phase” of finding a new, better!, sleep pattern to compliment my improved morning routine, I am really looking for some insight and experience from you:


How much sleep do you get during the week? Or on the weekend?
Do you feel sleep-deprived or are you pretty happy with the sleep you’re getting?
What’s your night routine?

  1. Ich gehe auch immer zu spät ins Bett. Und ich will es immer ändern, aber da sind so viele Dinge, die erledigt sein wollen… 8 Stunden ist für mein Gefühl auch ein guter Wert. Drunter bin ich morgens immer tot :)!

  2. I’d say I get about 7 hours a sleep last night. Which is good. I honestly probably NEED 9 (My autoimmune system is a bit wacky) but right now all I can fit in is about 7. Sometimes I might get 8, other times 6, but its pretty much 7 regularly.
    I definitely find that I need sleep. I feel healthier and I’m happier when I do sleep.
    I TOTALLY know wha tyou mean abou tneeding to get used to sleeping more… When Mr. O and I first started dating I was SOOO not used to going to bed “earlY” I was in a sleep-binging phase. Some nights I’d be up until 2:30am doing homework only to wake up at 6 for work (this was the norm) and other nights I’d fall asleep as soon as I finished eating at 6pm. I totally have to thank Mr. O for getting me on a sleeping schedule. I definitely feel more healthy this way.
    It will take some time to get used to, but I guarentee it will be good for you.

  3. Not enough sleep! I think i usually get like 4-6 hours. :(

  4. Ahhh the ol’ finding a routine dilemma!! Haha. I struggle with this as well. I love waking up early and having time to relax in the mornings, but it’s sooo hard to get myself disciplined. Thank you for sharing your journey, it’s inspiring! Good luck finding the right number of hours that works for you :) I still have to figure that out! :P Haha

  5. I average about 7 hours a night, but get around 7-8 hours. Tuesday night, I got 9 hours and it was DIVINE! It’s true that you can’t ever really “catch up” on sleep so it’s better to start a routine of getting to bed earlier. I would say just start going to bed 15 minutes earlier than you normally do and just easing into it.

  6. I could not get by on 6.5 hours of sleep! Maybe for a few days, but not much more than that. I need 8. It’s really hard because I get home, run, and then study until 8. And then try to shut the lights off at 9. Which is tough as that gives me an hour to do things around my condo, get ready for bed, and read. I don’t sleep all that much longer on the weekend. I try to get 9 hours of sleep one night, but seem to be unable to sleep past 7:30… so I need to get to bed at a decent time on weekends to hit my 9 hour goal. It’s tough!

  7. I think I get about 6 hours of sleep in a “good night” – and I consider it a good night if I only wake up once or twice. I’m such a light sleeper that I wake up if Topher rolls over in his sleep in the room next to ours. It’s pretty bad! I sleep in a little on the weekends if Topher cooperates – then I might get 7 hours of sleep :) I find I’m more tired if I go to bed earlier too – so lately I’ve been exercising in the evenings and falling into bed exhausted. Seems to help a little …

  8. In my experience, early bedtimes are a real science. I’ve always been REALLY good about bedtime because I actually don’t function if I don’t get 7-8 hours. Less than that and I’m literally a robot. If I get less than that for too many days, I get ridiculously sick like I’ve been for the last two weeks. My system can’t cope, so I’ve learned that early wake-ups mean early bedtimes.

    It sucks because I don’t always have long evenings, but I’ve realized that shutting the computer off earlier makes my night feel longer. Time seems to just ZOOM BY when I’m online, but when I step back I feel like I can enjoy my hours better.

    When I wake up at 6:30am, I am normally off the computer between 9 and 10:30. This is a pretty big gap, but it basically just allows me either more or less reading time. Reading is great way to wind down and I make sure to get a few pages in each night, if not more. So to get up for 6:30, it’s lights out by 11pm NO EXCUSES. Unless I’m stuck with homework or some other weird thing once in a while. But mostly, that’s how it goes.

    You’ll find your routine, don’t worry. It’s sticking by it that’s hard, but you just need to listen to your body. Don’t force your night to be longer just so that you can have an extra half hour awake. Your body might sincerely appreciate the extra sleep, and after a week or two you won’t feel more tired in the morning.

    Good luck! I know how tough this can be. I’m sure you’ll figure something out though :)

  9. I am not sure what is going on with you. Maybe your body really does function best on 6.5 hours of sleep! How do you feel on the weekends after sleeping longer? Do you feel better? And you said that if you try to go to sleep earlier on weekdays it doesn’t help? I think maybe you should just roll with it. Maybe you are stressing becuase it doesn’t seem normal, but it is actually normal for you.

    I sleep about 8 hours a night. If I get less, I can function, but if it’s for several days in a row, I am a cranky puss. But probably mostly because I “think” I need the extra sleep. Who knows!

  10. I can definitely understand what you’re saying! There just aren’t enough hours in the day to work, sleep, and accomplish everything else we want to do. I struggle with that on a regular basis.

    Aaron goes to bed early because he works a lot earlier than I do, so that helps me get to bed at a decent time. However, lately his snoring and the puppy have been causing me to toss and turn and lose sleep, even if I make it into bed by 10pm. Some weeks you just can’t win!

  11. This sounds very familiar. I hate going to bed early because I just love my evenings so much as well. I have the same dilemma and it is even worse since I started working again, because before I would just rest a bit on the couch once everyone was gone in the mornings.
    Happy weekend xxx

  12. I’m right there with you. I get about 7 hours of sleep, but could definitely use 8 hours on a regular basis. So, another way of saying what you said is that you could stand to sleep 30-90 minutes more per night. That’s a huge chunk of time to just delete from your evenings (as is evidenced by your slow willingness to do so). Why not tackle it a little at a time. Next week, go to sleep 10-15 minutes earlier than your current bedtime. Do that for a week or a month or however long for you to feel like it’s normal. Then try going to sleep 10-15 minutes earlier than that new bedtime. Stick to that for some period of time. Keep doing that until you reach that desired balance of time to yourself in the evenings and enough sleep for you to feel rested the next day. (Maybe I need to follow my own advice!)

  13. I find that 7.5 hours a night is the perfect amount of sleep for me. In the mornings I always feel like I need at least an hour longer but it turns out if I give myself that one additional hour in bed, I’m more tired during the day than if I had just gotten up after 7.5 hours. I also think I’m less tired if I keep to the same sleeping pattern on weekends (I usually wake up around the same time I do during the week, without my alarm going off, anyway!) but when I don’t have to be anywhere, I do stay in bed… and then, again, I’m all tired and cranky during the day. ;-) It really is a science, isn’t it? It’s a science but it’s still different for everyone… Probably depending on how deep and “healthy” a sleeper you actually are, how stressful your days are, etc.

    Love the picture, by the way. :)

  14. I completely relate to the difficulty of going to bed, especially if I had a short evening after work and didn’t feel like I accomplished anything personal in my evening post-work hours. I do however enjoy having a leisurely morning routine and regret it when I stay in bed until the last minute. So… I feel ya!

  15. Hi Sandra,

    since I haven´t commented yet on your blog I just decided to start with ;-)

    Please don´t wonder about my english grammar and my spelling (my mothertong is german though), but I promise I´ll do my best ..

    Now to the topic: I too was on search of a good sleeping pattern or rather on search of a good wake up pattern and found this Philips Wake-up Light wich is supposed to wake you up in a natural way. The clou about this “Wecker” (alarm clock) is following: the rising light wakes you in a soft way so that your body can prepare gradually for waking up. In addition the light doesn´t disturb your Rapid Eye Movement sleep. As far as I know, whether you wake up during your REM-sleep or not it is crucial to how fit you feel that day. So at least in theory you should feel fitter when you manage to set your alarm clock in correspondence to your sleeping phase.

    I bought the Philips Wake-up Light and feel a lot better since I use it. For more information check the following Link: Maybe it´s something that could help you too :-)

    Bye, bye from Germany


  16. I can’t remember if I commented on your morning routine post, but I really love it. Right now my morning routine is rush around getting ready and out the door all within about 40 minutes. This is largely in part to my horrible night routine. On average a night I get maybe 5 hours of sleep? Then, like you, I crash on weekends. No matter how early I try to go to bed, I just can’t seem to fall asleep until way too late.

  17. I get about 8 hours every night, including weekends, and that seems to be pretty standard for me. I’m lucky enough to not have to wake up super early most days, so I tend to not go to sleep until 10:30 or 11. There’s always way too much to do at the end of the day though, but we almost always eat dinner, watch some TV and then go to bed, after whatever chores there are get done.

  18. I always feel like I need more sleep time than what I get. But the odd thing is that when I sleep too much during the day, trying to make up for my little night sleep, I feel terrible afterwards. I’m groggy, sluggish and in a mental fog. I read an article a few weeks back about sleep patters, and how before, like centuries ago, people slept in two 3-4 hours shifts at night, waking up in between shifts for a couple hours. They said in the article this sleeping for 7 to 8 hours continuously, is new, and unnatural to humans. They did an experiment with people and they observed how the subjects would naturally fall back to this two shift night sleep patter, when given the chance (they slept in a lab for 60 days and were monitored in their sleep behaviors). I thought it was very interesting. It might be why I wake up tired sometimes and over sleeping, although it feels like I need it, tends to have a negative outcome for me. I do LOVE to sleep though, so I still need to find my right balance.

Comments are closed.