Amanda Cade

Worth It! (Things to try, read, watch, hear, and discuss)

The other day, a friend asked me if I’m still waking up super early now that I’m working from home. When I told her I am, she said, “That’s crazy. This is the time to stay up late and sleep in.” This was far from the first time I’ve been told that people’s sleep schedules are all over the place during the stay at home orders. However, you might want to think twice before you throw off your routine.

Why it’s tempting

staying in bedEven if you’re still expected to be “at work” at the same time, there are normal morning activities you no longer have to do. If nothing else, you get to skip the commute. My job is being super flexible in terms of when we get things done, as long as they’re done within a specified timeframe. I have several daily meetings, but the first one doesn’t start until 11am. Some of my colleagues have gone from getting up at 6:30 to getting up at 10:30. Sleeping in is a luxury we don’t often get, so it’s hard to resist hitting snooze, or changing the alarm. After all, the more sleep you get, the better…right?

Why it’s bad

so tiredEveryone has an optimal amount of sleep to get. For adults, it can be between seven and nine hours. For teens, it’s 8-10. Not getting quite enough sleep leaves us feeling irritable, groggy, and unfocused. The truth is that most of us don’t get that much sleep, resulting in a condition called sleep debt. Using lockdown as a chance to finally get enough sleep finally is absolutely a good and healthy decision. Getting enough sleep is vital for our health and well being, and it’s especially important for our immune system. However – and this is a very important however – you should be sleeping in the same timeframe every day.

Why? Because your body has a biological clock. In your ideal state, it should be tied to the day night cycle, but even lockdown life doesn’t always allow for that. So a sleep schedule helps you simulate that. You train your body when it should get tired and when it should wake up. The more regular you are about it, the better your overall sleep quality will be. Even if you are getting 8 hours a night, proper sleep routines mean you’ll get a better rest than you would if you have a poor schedule.

How to avoid it

bedtimeAlarms are your friend and ally here. Not just to wake yourself up, but also to remind yourself of when to sleep, and when to start preparing to sleep. If you’re like me,  your caffeine intake has gone way up during the lockdown. To combat this, I’ve set a daily alarm six hours before bedtime to remind me to switch to decaf. It helps to have another alarm three hours before bed as your “last call” for food, because eating too much before bed can keep you up, but going to bed hungry is also hard. Then the final alarm, one hour before bed, is when you stop screen time. Read a book, listen to music…anything that takes you away from a computer or TV screen. Then – and this can be the hard part – once that hour has passed, actually go to bed. Once you reach (or reestablish) the point where this routine is second nature, you might not need all the reminders, but early on they’ll help you set the habit.

good morningYou also have to have good habits in the morning. An alarm here is going to be important, even as your body starts adjusting to the point where it wakes up on its own. Once your alarm does start beeping, actually get out of bed. If you don’t get up, you’re likely to find yourself drifting back off to sleep, defeating the entire purpose. Oversleeping is almost as bad as undersleeping, and causes some of the same long term problems. When you get out of bed, do something that wakes you up. Preferably something you find enjoyable. Caffeine can be resumed here, or exercise if that’s your jam. A nice hot shower is always good, and if you’re working from home and therefore have more time, you could even indulge in a hot bath. Cook breakfast as opposed to blearily shoving a donut in your face. (Or do the bleary donut shove, I won’t judge – my donut love is well documented.) Whatever you do, have a routine, because your body will start associating those activities with waking up, leading you to actually perking up much quicker and feeling infinitely better about your day.

healthy helpful calm

How are you doing at keeping a routine (for sleep, or any other activities) while you’re at home?

35 thoughts on “Worth Avoiding: Messing With Your Sleep Schedule

  1. kagould17 says:

    My sleep habits are all over the map and I have no excuse, as I am retired. No matter what time I go to bed, it seems, I wake up by 5:30, so may as well go to bed at 10. As hours of light increase, I will have my own alarm clock outside my window, the 5:30 crow, so no chance to sleep in then. I have found the best thing to do when you are not getting enough sleep, is to stop fretting about it. Had a crappy sleep for two nights, then last nigth it was great and I go my 7 hours. Stay well Amanda and Happy Easter. Allan

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      My wake up time is also very consistent, so I really have to guard against staying up too late.
      Happy Easter to you, too. I hope you have a great day.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Brandon says:

      The crow has a schedule and is holding you accountable to sticking to it 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s just business as usual for me because I work at home anyway. I’ve seen a lot of people really struggling though and I think it would be easier if they did things like not messing with their sleep schedule and doing the normal things in the morning such as having a shower and putting clean clothes on. I’m not going to judge, but there’s so much that we can’t control right now, I think it makes sense to try and make some sort of normality out of the things that we do have the power to change.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I’ve definitely gotten the feeling that people who are trying to stay in a routine are coping better than those who aren’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I just decided to try and keep a normal wake up time!! I had been doing pretty good with it already, but decided to close the wake up window a little bit more

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      It’s good that you’re avoiding the temptation to sleep odd hours. I really worry about the people I know who are all over the place right now.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Paul says:

    I have to admit that I have adjusted my routine somewhat.

    Normally I would get up at 6:00 in the morning in order to be in the office between 8:00 and 8:30. I initially intended to continue with the same start time but this just led to me being online far too early.

    Now I’m staying up for an extra hour in the evening, getting up at 7:00 and going for a walk between breakfast. This way I am can do my normal work hours and still take advantage of the zero commute time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Taking a walk is a great use of extra time.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Mrs ESTJ says:

    Good advice on keeping a routine. Important to be able to control as much of your life as possible in these uncertain times.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. mahimajalan says:

    I have such a messed up sleeping schedule, so difficult to balance it! Will surely try to follow your tips, I hope they help!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Using an evening routine made a big difference for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. mahimajalan says:

        Hope it works for me!
        I will be glad if you check my profile and share your feedback:
        mahimajalan.wordpress.com

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Edhie says:

    That is very true Amanda luckily for me I am still working, but was planning to overindulge on sleep when I finally go home for my break but after reading your post 🤔 I do not think I will do it. So thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I hope you’re able to keep a consistent schedule. When are you going home?

      Like

      1. Edhie says:

        I do no know yet. Because I work with vulnerable and most at risk people to Corona virus I am self isolating with them, so I guess it will be when the lock down is lifted.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Amanda Cade says:

        Bless you for your work and commitment.

        Like

  8. Carol Anne says:

    great tips, amanda, my sleep is off, its very, very bad lately. I dont work, but trying to get optimal sleep, and not stay up past midnight or 1 aM is hard. Lockdown makes it super hard. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      It’s such a crazy time right now.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Gigi says:

    Our routine has been no different to be honest. I’m on maternity leave, which has been nice. But I work evenings usually, so it’s easy to keep the same routine 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Gigi says:

    Hope you and your family have been safe 💙

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      We are, thank heaven.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. My sleep schedule appears to be on a ‘one good night sleep followed be three bad ones’ cycle 🙈

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Sorry you’re having trouble sleeping. 😕

      Liked by 1 person

  12. VitaEats says:

    I agree, I’ve been trying to maintain and stick to the same schedule. Now I struggle with having to take naps 1-3pm 😥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      One of the things I’ve realized is that working at home makes it so much easier to notice that I’m sleepy. Looking back, I know that pretty much every day I feel like taking a nap around 2:00, but at work I don’t have a problem pushing past it. Here, I feel like my bed is calling me. 🙂

      Like

      1. VitaEats says:

        That’s true, 2-4pm is usually when my body is craving a nap, it sucks we don’t get the chance to recharge for a few. Working from home has helped us indulge a bit more into our wants. 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Every day is the same and I feel better for it… up at 3:00 a.m., off to work at different times, back for lite dinner at 6, and asleep by 7 or 8… A LOT more writing gets done that way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Your wakeup and bedtime are very close to mine. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Mom A says:

    Great article highlighting the importance of sleep!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      It’s something a lot of people are struggling with these days.

      Liked by 1 person

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