Prioritizing Sleep 2.0

Most of my life I’ve treated sleep as a bonus. If I get more of it, great. If I don’t, well, other things needed to be done. College was the worst. Between ministry, student groups, and college workload I got 2-4 hours on average. Some nights I got as little as an hour and my eyes would start to blur. Go figure I ended up with adrenal type fatigue and thyroid issues in my mid twenties partially in result to my go-go-go lifestyle. Sleep definitely affects my health and well being more than I gave it credit. Quarantine life has shown me that sleep is important, and the secret I didn’t know but should have been a DUH moment is that other people prioritize sleep and keep their schedules slim during the week if they work a typical 9-5. I need to adapt to that thought process stat.

I used to find worth in being busy (super cringe when I think about that too long). I felt like my best self when I was contributing time and effort to doing things in my community. I still take great joy in ministry and volunteering and helping where I can, but not being able to do much of that for an entire year, I see the flip side and the mental unloading of not saying yes to things. A lot of people don’t have commitments. Period. That alarmed me. Growing up and being in church and church activities I’ve always had part of a weekend blocked and sometimes multiple nights a week doing different events. It felt natural. As I’ve grown older and experienced more live I’ve seen the prudence of giving things more thought before commitment and not saying yes to everything. That part got easier to figure out. But sleep? That was still hurting. And it still is. So, I’m making changes to my outlook and habits.

If I’m honest, it wasn’t until last year that I started seeing sleep as recharging my battery and that I was relying on “fast charging” too much. My fitbit helps me track actual time asleep and I noticed that even when I set my alarm for 7 hours it didn’t mean I got 7 full hours of sleep. And some nights, I was more restful or scored better in deep, REM, and light sleep and others I did not. Not only was I not getting great sleep, factors contributed to it.

A common theme I found with business people and bloggers I followed is that many of them didn’t do as much during the work week. Again, probably a DUH to many, but it was like a light bulb turned on to me. You mean…I’m not supposed to get 7-8 hours worth of things done on a weekday? Really? I stopped to think about my habits and true enough, my Monday-Friday was TOO full of things I imposed on myself or trying to get too much done with commitments or family. If I got home at 5-5:30, or did outside errands until 7, I have to curate what I deem worthwhile to do so I can invest more time in sleep. This is so simple in theory but so difficult in practice. Things like cooking dinner every night just aren’t feasible when I have 4 hours until bedtime from doing outside errands. On nights like this, I need leftovers or a heat-and-eat or a protein shake dinner so I’m not wasting an hour cooking and a half hour cleaning. If I wanted to do something out of my block schedule, I need to spread it out instead of trying to conquer it in one evening. I only have 5.5 hours of time between work and sleep, so I need to choose things wisely and not always fill it up.

Laura’s Basic M-F

6:30am Wake up
7:45am Drive to work
8-5 Work
11pm Proposed bedtime
12:15am-1am When I usually get to bed

What I’ll be doing to help retrain myself:


– Setting a 10:30pm alarm to consciously finish up what I’m doing and get into wind down mode
– Monitor factors that provide me best sleep (avoiding blue lights, not dressing too warm/cool, etc)
– Prioritizing less during the work week and spreading things out better or making smaller daily habits
– Moving some chores to weekend work
– Continuing to keep a super light load until I am getting the rest I need and finding good balance

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