Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Midnight's Better Than 2 AM

I come from a nocturnal family, so staying up half the night isn’t out of the ordinary for most of us.  (As vampires, we tend to burn in the sun.) But since most of the world sleeps at night, I’ve adapted in adulthood to sleep when it’s dark and work during the day.
There’s just one little problem: I’m better at night. (Like all vampires. Why am I not writing paranormal?) I’m more focused and more creative. I accomplish more in less time. It helps that there are fewer distractions since the rest of the world is snoozing, but I have more mental clarity. Whether to stay up later or not has become an area of struggle for me.
I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, proper nutrition (mostly), and enough sleep. We tend to not prioritize the latter very highly. As productive members of society, accomplishing tasks sometimes takes precedence over taking care of ourselves. Our bodies aren’t machines and we need sufficient downtime/sleep. If we don’t get it, bad things happen, such as premature aging, hormonal imbalances which lead to disease and weight gain, memory loss, and lack of sex drive. Ouch. No thanks.
Way past my bedtime...
My goal is to get to bed by 10 PM and get up at 6 AM. When Hubba-luv’s not working out of town, I hit the marks ninety percent of the time. Unfortunately, when he’s away, I don’t sleep well. And since I know I can escape into my writing, I do. Until two in the morning. It might not be so awful if I could sleep in, but my cat has an internal alarm clock and the loudest repetitive trill I’ve ever endured. A pillow over the head does not do the trick. Neither does locking her out of the bedroom or putting duct tape over her mouth. (I’ve never actually tried the tape, but I dream of it at times.)
Wake up! Don't make me tell you again.
I’m a creature of habit. Once I establish good habits, I can keep going like the Energizer bunny. When my routine gets interrupted, I’m in trouble. It takes weeks for me to return to my normal. So even after Hubba-luv returned from his most recent trip, I continued to stay up until two. I put my foot down one night and said to myself, “Ten tonight. No later.” At midnight, I shut down my computer. Hey, midnight’s better than 2 AM, right? If I can keep working my way backward, then I may get in bed by my goal time in the next few days.

Is there a time of day when you’re better? Are you getting enough sleep? Do you have too much to do and too little time to do it? Please reassure me I’m not the only one who wrestles with these issues.


Aidee Ladnier said...

I'm the opposite. I get up at 5am (yawning and stumbling) and write. Luckily my subconscious knows how the story is supposed to go and I just let my fingers type. :)

Tina B said...

I am not a morning person at all. It takes me a long time to wake up, even if I am up and sitting on the couch. My hubby likes to talk to me as soon as I wake up. Talk about irritating. Lol. I just want tons of coffee and let me read for like an hour (not that I have time with the kids). It sounds ideal. :)
My favorite time of day is about 8 or 9 at night. Everyone is getting ready for bed and I get time to myself. :)

Tina B said...
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Ali Hubbard said...

Mine changes, which worries me. If I'm not tired, then I write best between 9 and midnight...but not always! Sometimes it's 7am to 11 am.

One thing I HAVE learned...I need to say no to a lot of people who want to volunteer my time. I haven't been able (yet!) to write for a half hour or a small amount of time (totally in awe of the people who write on their lunch hours). I need a few hours in a row. I'm forcing myself to do small stints so that it becomes more of a habit.

I guess I'll just take it when I can get it!

Louisa Cornell said...

I am SO not a morning person. Truly. And I despise daylight saving time. Hate it with a passion. Since Sunday my body feels as if I am getting out of bed at 5 AM to go to work when I am supposedly getting up at 6. My body is not fooled. It is 5 AM. It is dark. People are not supposed to wake up before the sun.

I am so horribly in the mornings, my bakery crew has BEGGED my boss never to bring me in at 4 AM ever again. The one time he did, it was NOT pretty.

I am a 'get up around 9 or 10 AM' kind of gal. I stay up until midnight or so. Evening hours are my best for writing.

Which is why I SERIOUSLY need to get out of Walmart. My day job is cutting in on my writing and sleeping time.

Meda White said...

I admire your dedication to get up so early, Aidee. And your subconscious for working while you yawn. LOL

Meda White said...

~Tina~ When I met Hubba-luv, he said, "I don't like to talk or listen for the first hour after I wake up." I translated that as, "Shut up and pour the coffee." LOL

Meda White said...

I'm like you, Ali. I need a longer window of time to be able to turn my mind loose and write. I also admire those who can do it on their lunch hour or in fifteen minute spurts. I spend fifteen minutes re-reading the scene I wrote the day before so I can know where to start today. LOL

Meda White said...

~Louisa, you crack me up. On Monday after the time change, my friend's son said, "Mama, I can't get up yet. The sun's not even up." LOL I think having to be at work at four in the morning would make me grumpy too.

Cari Hislop said...

I've always been a night owl. I love the peaceful serenity of the night. After nine is my favorite time to write. In an ideal world I'd write from nine to one in the morning and then wind down for an hour before going to bed.

My husband is a morning person. The last few years he's been suffering depression so he hasn't been very chipper in the morning (though he's feeling much much better) but when healthy he wakes up like an excited puppy. It usually takes me an hour to wake up. I think that was wise of your husband to note his morning wake-up time. Sleep patterns should probably be one of the first questions on the dating application...when do you go to bed? How long does it take you to wake up? ;)

I try to get to bed at a sensible time these days as my husband is always awake by 6:30...that means the light goes on and I am awake by default. :P At least till he goes to work. ;)