Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sleep Cycles

If you happen to be lucky enough to function on a 24-hour cycle, I am jealous of you. Some people naturally like to be awake for 16 hours and sleep for 8. Or they like to be awake for 17 hours and sleep for 7, etc. You get the idea. The hours add up to 24, which happens to be the number allotted.

I, on the other hand, am what is referred to as a "night owl." I inherited this from my dad. Both of us are chronically sleep deprived, grumpy in the morning, coffee addicts and frequently found awake at ridiculous times like 3 AM. Last summer, pre-Evie, it wasn't unheard of for me to go to bed at 4 AM and get up at noon. And no, I wasn't out partying, I was up scrapbooking, sewing or blogging.

My body works on a 30 hour cycle. It likes to be awake for 20 hours and then asleep for 10. That's the pattern I fall into when I *can* (needless to say, I can't anymore). Sadly, there are not 30 hours in a day. So I end up staying up late, getting too little sleep, waking up in the morning grumpy and dependent on coffee, then being exhausted enough to go to bed the next night at a more reasonable time. The next day, however, I am rested enough that my body goes back to my 30 hour schedule and I end up with insomnia at bedtime. OK, so that's my issue. I've dealt with it for long enough that I can handle it.

Evie, on the other hand, seems to be on a 23 hour cycle. Her body likes to sleep for 11 hours at night, then 2 hours awake, then 0-1 hour nap, then 3-4 hours awake, then 1-2 hour nap, then 3-4 hours awake, then bed. That adds up to 22-24 hours, but usually 23. This is great for her, because eventually she'll adapt and as an adult shouldn't have sleep issues. But right now, we are in a cycle where her bedtimes and wake-up times either keep getting earlier and earlier (6:30 pm bedtime last night and 5:30 wake up this morning) or else I keep a cranky baby up for an extra hour every night, which just doesn't seem right. When a baby is tired and wants to sleep, let them sleep, right?!

Anyhow, J has cycles more like Evie and is a huge help when he's in town. When he's not, Evie and I are dysfunctional. My least favorite time of day is having her clinging to my leg, crying, while I make coffee at 5:45 AM. Believe me, Evie, you don't want to hang out with a Mommy sans-coffee. Just let me brew my pot, please. Pretty please.

Anyone else have sleep cycle dysfunctions with their babies or kids? I bet there are parents out there with the opposite are on a 24 hour schedule or close to it, and your baby is on a night owl schedule and works on 25 or 26 hour days? I know that my tendencies are genetic, not only because I am so like my dad, but also because my mom says I was something of a night owl even as a baby.


  1. Ohhhh....I can relate. My kids are early risers and I am a night owl. They need 12 hours of sleep so they typically go to bed at 6:30. People think I am crazy for putting them to bed this early, but it has been Andy's pattern since he was six months old. If I put him to bed any later it just causes problems and he wakes up earlier. They rarely sleep past 6:30 and for awhile this year Eli was waking up around 4:30 no matter what time he went to bed. I am SO NOT A MORNING PERSON. This morning, all three kids were in my bed with me wanting me to get up. I put on a PBS show and let them bring the box of fruit loops into the bed! HOW HORRIBLE IS THAT? I hate mornings....

  2. I can fall asleep within a few minutes of my head hitting the pillow. I love it when I can get about hours of sleep. I am not much good to anyone after 10 pm.


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