Weekend sleep (More on Rule #1: Give yourself a bedtime) – Laura Vanderkam
This week in the Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge (based on the nine rules in my most recent book) we’re looking at Rule #1: Give yourself a bedtime.
During the workweek, many of us have to wake up at a specific time for work or family responsibilities. We all need a certain amount of sleep as well. Giving yourself a bedtime means going to bed at a time that allows you to get that amount of sleep each night.
So, since I have to wake up at 6:30 a.m. on weekdays, and I need about 7.5 hours of sleep each day, that means my bedtime is 11:00 p.m. This is just math — and simple enough.
But…what about weekends?
For many years this was a non-question for me, as I had young children who didn’t really “get” the concept of weekends. But in the last year or so (something that also happened for a brief window in 2018-2019) I’ve started to be able to set an alarm during the week with the reasonable certainty that the alarm is what will wake me up. And without that alarm on weekends, it is possible that everyone might sleep until 8 or later (!)
So…how does this change things? For me, the answer is that it changes things a little, but not a ton. I aim not to enter the weekend with a sleep debt, but some times by the end of the week I’ve gone to bed at 11:30 p.m. some nights instead of 11, and I might have a little catching up to do. My goal is to allow myself 8 hours in bed, more or less. So lights out tends to be 11:30 p.m. or so. Definitely not past midnight! I set my alarm for 7:30 a.m. most Sundays to be ready for church (choir rehearsal starts at 9). Saturdays depend on kid activities, or if I’m running with a friend, but that’s usually going to be 7 or 7:30 a.m. or so. If I don’t have to be anywhere I still generally drift up by 7:45 (which is when my 3-year-old would usually be stirring by too). I think shifting things by more than an hour leads to sleep problems during the week (because it’s hard to fall asleep on Sunday night, then you’re tired Monday and…)
I am not as strict with my teen/tween children on staying within an hour of normal wake-up times on weekends. Saturday I tend to let them sleep longer if they don’t have activities. Sunday I generally wake them up by 8:40 (when I would be leaving for rehearsal). Probably that should be a little earlier, but it’s a compromise.
What about you? What does your weekend sleep tend to look like?