So I’m still waking up at stupid o’clock every morning, two weeks into my summer. The difference now is that I can usually get back to sleep till 7:30 or 8 am, which is STILL way too early to get up when I don’t have to go to work, but whatever. That’s quite possibly just what I do now, at my advanced age – and that’s really quite a change for me.
You know, I can remember sleeping till 11 am almost every weekend. And I wasn’t even a teenager yet! I could go to bed at, say, 9 pm on a Friday night (which was already pushing it in my house, at least till I was 12 years old) and sleep for a solid 13 or 14 hours, easy. I actually needed all that sleep, too. I didn’t wake up at all. I just slept. Then I’d wake up and stagger out of bed, be all groggy for a while (till I’d scarfed down a sugary bowl of Alpha-bits or Captain Crunch cereal), then I’d be good to go.
I wasn’t one of those kids that stayed up all night at sleepovers, either. I was the kid who was yawning and desperately trying to stay awake at 10 pm, while the other kids were just starting to ramp up for the night’s frivolity. I was always the first kid to fall asleep, and the last one to wake up in the morning. I actually didn’t go to a whole lot of sleepovers, now that I think of it.
As a teenager, I was able to stay up longer. Sometimes I made it to 10 pm on a weeknight, but more often than not, I was out like a light by 9:30. And I still wasn’t an early riser. I just needed to sleep a lot. If I did have to be at school earlier, like for at 7:30 am for a sports team practice or maybe an early departure for a field trip somewhere, I had to adjust my bedtime accordingly so that I could still fulfill my enormous sleep quota.
And I only rarely went out on weeknights when I was a teenager and in my early twenties because I needed so much sleep and I knew I had to get up early for school or work the next day. (Oh – who am I kidding?? I STILL only rarely go out on weeknights. It used to be because I needed my sleep, but now it’s more that I have nowhere to go.) I could do it occasionally, but never on a regular basis. I could never understand those people my age who could party almost every weeknight at a downtown club or go to concerts or do whatever they did till the wee hours – and then they’d wake up at 7 am and turn up at school or work, fresh as a daisy. I just didn’t have that ability.
When I was in a language school in France, at age 20, my roommate told me that I was a bit of an embarrassment to her because I accepted no weeknight invitations and just went back to bed early, whereas she was out doing something with our classmates almost every single night. She said people kept asking her why I didn’t come out with the group, and she was running out of excuses. I told her to not worry about it, that I just needed my sleep. And when we came home to Canada, we didn’t stay friends and we never saw each other again.
Then when I got married and had a baby, it was pure hell for me to get up and feed that baby every three hours through the night! I know all new mothers are miserable and overtired for a while, but I seriously had trouble waking up. I mean, I heard DD fussing in her crib, but it often took me a good ten minutes before I could drag my carcass out of our warm bed and get to her. She was a bottle-fed baby, so I took to leaving her night-time bottles already in her bedroom so I wouldn’t have to go downstairs and heat up a bottle each time. DD didn’t seem to mind room-temperature milk, fortunately. Many nights I sat in the rocking chair in her room, feeding her and dozing off myself, then rousing myself to burp and change her, putting her back to sleep, then falling back into our bed, practically asleep already. And I was napping every afternoon, too! Imagine if I hadn’t done that – or if DD hadn’t been such a calm baby and such a good sleeper herself!
So you see, this waking up early crap is HUGE for me. So is the not-always-sleeping-though-the-night that I periodically suffer from. I’m still hitting the sack fairly early, yet despite those disturbances, I’m rarely tired in the morning. My sleep needs have definitely changed dramatically. All together now, with sarcasm: yay ageing.