"Sleepy Girl, Sleepy Girl, why don't you go to sleep?"
For much of my life, I thought I was one of those people who just required extra sleep.
I remember struggling to get out of bed for school most mornings. Forever etched in my memory is the visual (and sound) of my mom coming into my bedroom and tearing open the curtains.
"Rise and shine!"
Sometimes I’d oversleep and she'd have to drive me to school. She was NOT happy about that. I was, though. I'd take a car ride over a bus ride to school any day.
One time, my neighbor Kathy and I both missed the bus. (I won't go into whether or not it was on purpose.) Mom was at work - we were in high school now - so we took the almost four-mile trek by foot. Mom didn't learn about that one until much later, when I finally fessed up because the statute of limitations was up.
In my late teens and early twenties, I worked in restaurants and clubs – mostly while taking college classes, and sometimes while working another job on top of that. (See? I wasn't lazy. I just didn't like getting up early.) In New York, clubs would stay open till 4:00 a.m. In Arizona, they’d be open until 1:00.
I wore my lost sleep as a badge of honor. Hey, I was handling school and work like a charm!
I recall the struggle, while later working at a corporate job, of not wanting to go to bed early (old habits die hard), but still having to get up early every morning, get showered, grab a quick bite, drive about 15 miles, find parking (often a difficult task), and be at my desk by the 7:20 bell.
Yeah, we had a bell. Well, more of a buzzer.
I don’t think I was really thinking about what my body required back then. I was young, single and free, and I could live my life the way I wanted – even if that meant a little struggle in the mornings.
Later, when I was selling new homes, the sales offices didn’t open till 10:00 a.m., so I could sleep late without a problem. (Still single, no kids.)
Further down the road, when I was a new mom, I didn’t sleep through the night for two years. (Can you say emaciated?) My own schedule wasn’t even an option, so I can't take the blame for that one.
Recently, I’d been staying up super late (even though I know better), sometimes till the wee hours of the morning. I know that doesn't make for the most productive days, even though "I do my best work later in the day."
So, I've started to get myself into a more consistent routine of getting to bed by about 11:00. Admittedly, though, my efforts are sometimes sporadic. What can I say? It's a challenging habit to break.
No matter what time I get to bed, as a general rule I make sure to get in at least eight hours of sleep.
Here's the thing, though: eight hours of sleep is what’s required for most adults, not children.
As for when I was young, I didn’t need more sleep than what was required. I needed more sleep, period. We didn’t realize back then that when we’re school age, we require more than eight hours of sleep a night.
Though sleep needs vary from person to person, here’s what the National Sleep Foundation recommends (including nap time for newborns through preschoolers):
Newborns (0-3 mos): 14-17 hours
Infants (4-11 mos): 12-15 hours
Toddlers (1-2 yrs): 11-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5 yrs): 10-13 hours
School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
Adults (18-64): 7-9 hours
Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours
There you have it.
Now, what about you? What are your sleep habits? Are you an A+ sleep student, or do you nod off on the couch in protest?
And might this information change the story you’ve had in your mind for years about your own sleep needs? Could you maybe lighten up on yourself a little? Or, maybe you need to start getting more serious about your sleep?
If you’d like to learn more about sleep - and get some more powerful tips that’ll help you with general overwhelm and anxiety – just click on the button below for your free resource. I’m happy to hook you up!