What happens when a blogger decides to set a rule that she can’t use electronics any time after 10pm?
Which is why it’s been dead silent on this blog thfor the past three weeks.
Up until then, the hours between 10pm-1am (or, when I was really in the groove, more like 3am) was this mama’s prime blogging time. But something happened in the middle of September that put a stop to that. That something – or someone – is Arianna Huffington and her book Thrive. One of my recent posts was a result of spending an hour in her presence. The last three weeks of silence is a result of reading the first 165 pages of her book.
You see, Arianna reminded me of something that, as a mother, is supremely important but so stupidly easy to forget:
Sleep is freaking awesome.
Getting enough sleep also happens to be critical in order to be a fully functioning human being. I say ‘fully’ because while it is possible to function with limited sleep, I’ve finally
realised accepted it’s impossible to be my best and to maintain good health when I’m not getting enough sleep.
Yes, I’ve been successful and had many a legendary experience in a sleep-deprived state. But if I’m honest my best days are when I wake up rested, and can go through the day conscious – and actually present – when something great is happening.
But sleep is the thing I’ve just gotten used to sacrificing. I’m sure I’m not alone there. You all know this feeling, I’m sure:
It all started in high school when I pulled my first all-nighter to finish an assignment and got one of the top grades. That ‘success’ set me up for a decade and a half of thinking it was ok to stay up to get something done, without any real consideration of what it would do to my health or productivity. That habit of staying up until (or getting up at) a ridiculous hour was cemented when Mr 2 was born. Parents of infants simply adapt to living life in a semi-awake state. I have spent the majority of my working life, since becoming a mother, hankering for a coffee or a nap.
Earlier this year I met a psychologist who told me that the adage “get eight hours of sleep per night” is actually a myth, because women generally need more sleep than men. Ideally, he said, women need about nine hours of sleep and men need seven, and that has wrongly been rounded up/down to the incorrect average of eight. He then told me how important it was for me to try to get nine hours of sleep a night.
When I realised the guy was trying to give me serious advice, I wanted to throttle him (but stopped myself, because if I did that, I’d have gotten arrested and possibly been told to pay for an actual appointment with him or another psychologist). He responded to my laughter (turned raised eyebrow) with an attempt at empathy; I was working 50 hour weeks, which, when paired with raising a toddler, doesn’t easily allow for nine hours of glorious sleep. But he still insisted I do whatever was in my power to get more sleep.
It only took six months and a few people (Arianna included) telling me the same thing, for me to cave in to the pressure.
On the way to work one morning I read the chapter in Thrive called “Sleeping your way to the top.” In it Arianna described her friend, who would set her alarm clock for bed time, and treated it like an appointment she couldn’t miss. To sum up that section: we move our lives around to make sure we don’t miss a plane but for some reason, we don’t have the same commitment for sleep.
But if we just prioritised this one bit of self-care over many other things that are – in the grand scheme of things – much less important, we would be power houses. I just love how she concludes this 4 min talk:
What is good for us on a personal level; what’s going to bring us joy, gratitude, effectiveness in our lives, and be the best in our own careers, is also what is best for the world.
I also love that Arianna challenges women to lead the way in this space. I hear her – a successful, media mogul and mother – challenge me to commit to sleeping and I’m like
So I thought I’d try that for a week, and see what happened. The catalyst was my boss approved me changing my office hours to 8am-3pm. But getting into the office by 8am requires me to be out of the house by 6:30am.
Ergo, it was time to go to bed at a reasonable hour.
And for that to happen, that meant shutting down my computer and my smartphone at a reasonable hour.
God only knows how many cumulative hours of my life I’ve wasted scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed, reading shit that doesn’t add any value to my life. More sleep, on the other hand, would actually add years to my life. True story.
The result was that I stopped using my computer after 10pm, which meant I stopped blogging. In hindsight, it would have been polite for me to tell you all that I’d be going on hiatus. But I never actually intended to. I thought I’d be able to get Mr 2 into bed by 8pm and spend the remaining 2 hours of the day (or at least 1 weeknight) on my blog. Turns out I’m way too
It only took me three weeks to carve out time to blog again, and that’s only because a wellness coach suggested I give myself three achievable goals this week, and blogging happens to be one of them. That, and I have two sponsored posts coming up, and it just seems rude to disappear for a month and only come back because I have freebies to give away (though, really, are you going to hate me for offering you free food or Westfield vouchers? No).
In case you’re wondering, the “No electronics after 10pm” rule is bloody awesome – it is seriously changing my life. I will write a different post about that whole experience later. But I promise, only between the hours of 6am and 10pm.