As long as I can remember, I have tried to stay up late at night. I begged my parents for one more TV show, talked with my brothers and sisters until all hours, procrastinated on schoolwork until the last minute, watched movies with my husband, and refused to be left out of any late-night fun there was to be had.
However, being a mother has changed all that. Not only do my littlest babies still wake up in the middle of the night on occasion, but all of my children are up by 7:00am every morning. So it has become necessary for me to stop being a night-owl, and transform into an early-bird.
During the month of February, I made it my goal to be in bed by 10:00pm every night. I put a pad of paper and a pen on my bed side table, and every night I documented what time I went to bed, and my “excuse” for staying up late. I was not surprised to see that technology (my laptop computer and smart phone) was the #1 culprit keeping me up at night. Here are 9 things that kept me up at night during the month of February:
- Watching Movies/TV shows with my Husband
- Scheduling (I spent this month learning how to use Google Calendar)
- Social Networks
- Talking to my Husband
- Reading eBooks
- Proofreading for Others
- Editing Photos
- Shopping On-Line
As I looked over my list, I realized that nothing on my list was bad in and of itself. In fact, many of the things I did late at night were very good. The problem is that I continue to begin new tasks late at night, when I should just call it a day. One of the primary ways that I can make myself go to bed earlier is by turning off my technology. True story; my earliest bed time was the night my iPhone battery died.
At the end of the month I averaged my bedtimes, and found that on average I was in bed by 11:10pm each night. Although I was disappointed that my average bedtime was later than I’d hoped, I was pleased to see that I was going to bed earlier than in the past. It helps to remember some of the reasons why I’m going to bed earlier each night:
- I want to be well-rested as I begin each day with my 3 children.
- I want to yell less and laugh more.
- I don’t want to miss spending mornings with my kids.
- I want to get through the day without needing a nap.
- I don’t want to depend caffeine to keep me awake all day.
- I want to be dressed by a reasonable time.
- I want to make it to my morning activities on time.
- I eventually hope to get up before my children each day.
One of the things I have been reminding myself of recently, is that “Staying up late is a punishment, not a privilege.” As a child I believed that staying up late was a reward for age and maturity. However, when I have small children, staying up late punishes me (and everyone who has to interact with me) all the next day. I want to greet my husband and children with cheerfulness and gratitude (instead of crankiness and fatigue), so I will continue to work on going to bed earlier each night.
Do you struggle with going to bed late every night? What strategies work well for you? What motivates you to go to bed earlier?