6 AM

Recently, I outlined my goals for 2013 and adhere to better sleep habits is one of them. I’ve always had a hard time falling asleep and subsequently waking up again. Though I’ve been in denial about it, it’s becoming clear that I’m the kind of person that functions best on 8 to 9 hours of sleep. That’s an entire one-third, or more, of a day! I don’t want to spend that much time only sleeping when I could be spending more time being productive (or watching TV, whatever the case may be). Why can’t I be one of those people who can bounce out of bed after 5 hours of sleep, fully awake and refreshed? Sometimes life is just so unfair.

Sure, I can ignore my body’s need for a full night’s sleep, but there are significant costs when I do. I spend more of the day in a drone-like state, I yawn more (this is particularly embarrassing when I’m meeting with a supervisor or advisor), I’m less productive, I’m more likely to skip exercise, and I’m grumpier. Worst of all, I hit the snooze button a few times, which only prolongs the inevitable. I could go on, but you get the point. The next thing I know, I’m in a terrible cycle wherein I can’t fall asleep early enough at night to get enough sleep before my alarm clock will be going off in the morning.

I can’t even use work as an excuse to stay up late, because let’s be honest: I haven’t done anything work- or school-related later than 7:00pm in years (except during my comprehensive exams and finals weeks). I have a strong preference to not do any work in the evening after it’s dark. Sure, I often have to during the winter, but I don’t like it. So, basically, I refuse to work late into the evening, but I stay up late anyway, and then I sleep in too late, or I don’t sleep in but then I’m tired all day. All of this results in days and days of a less-than-productive Lori in a half-awake trance. It’s time to break the cycle.

Jet lag and illness have helped me to maintain a reasonable sleep schedule for the past week. The real challenge will be to maintain this schedule when I’m well again. Today was day one of the test: last night, I went to bed at 10:00 pm and I set my alarm for 6:00 am, despite the fact that I have nowhere to be until 10:00 am today. When my alarm went off at 6:00 am, I actually got up without hitting snooze. Success on day 1! All change has to start somewhere, right?

Here’s to better sleeping and waking schedules and less snooze button hitting. Also, I should go ahead and apologize to my husband now: I’m sorry for waking up every day at 6:00 am when you don’t have to be out of bed until 7:00. You didn’t need that extra hour of sleep, right?

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