Thoughts on Sleep

I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about productivity. I hear that we should be doing 12 certain things before 9am or that the most successful people begin their day before the sun rises. My thoughts? It makes me roll my eyes. We’re all extremely different. Different personality types, different opinions, different talents…why wouldn’t we be all different when it comes to sleep and sleep schedules?

As Margot Harrington said at WMC Fest: “You can’t innovate if you’re exhausted.”

I am not a morning person. That statement usually implies that I’m lazy and don’t wake up before noon (both aren’t true even though I can sleep til noon on weekends). I am, however, an extremely organized and productive person. Instead of focusing on the fact that I don’t do my best analyzing, thinking or working out in the morning…I’ve been trying to focus on when I AM most efficient based on my energy levels.

Even in college, I would get nagged about how late I would sleep in (after I stayed awake until 5am coding a website). Over the years, I’ve been made to feel guilty but now as an adult I’m just trying to own it. I prioritize sleep and I’ve been making some drastic changes to my diet (more on that later). I’m just trying to be the best me.

Is there anything that our society makes you feel guilty about?

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Comments (32)

  • This is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot too. And, frankly, I think it’s pretty silly.
    I’m currently waking up between noon-4pm. Most people will immediately criticize, saying that I’m lazy and unproductive. But what they don’t realize is that while they are sleeping during the night, I’m getting tons and tons of work done.

    In the end, we’re all getting the same amount done, just at different times of the day.

    Unfortunately, I’m not sure if society is capable of making people feel good about themselves. They can’t sell self-love, only insecurity and self-improvement.

    • I 100% agree, Kaylee! We all like making others feel guilty and it’s really frustrating! If someone is being productive, it shouldn’t matter what time. Obviously families and parents need to stick to a more routine schedule but I’m pretty independent and my husband knows how I work!

    • I have to agree with you, Kaylee! Society will never make people feel good about themselves because society lives on prejudice. And because of that, I think we should not pay too much attention to the criticism, especially if it’s not founded. If you know that you get your things done at a time that is “unconventional”, who cares that other percive you as being “lazy” because you happen to be in bed when “normally” you should be up and doing things. We all live at different times and we should not feel bad about having a dfferent schedule than our neighbours.

  • I’ve been trying SO hard to wake up at 7:30am every morning throughout the summer holidays. For the first two weeks I managed it… For the past week I’ve been waking up at 12:30pm! I’m so annoyed with myself but I just can’t focus if I’m tired.


    • Hey girl, don’t beat yourself up over it! Sometimes you just have to enjoy getting rest and the summer holiday is perfect for that!

  • I have to get up early with the kids, but I find my most productive time to be the middle of the day. I have a hard time with early mornings, even though I had a job for a few years that started at 4 AM. I was younger then ;)

    • Dang. 4am. My mom wakes up at like…4:30am daily just because. I’m in awe! I do, however, feel pretty fine after I wake up early. But I hit a few walls later in the day…

  • I’ve never been a morning person, and I’m finally learning to embrace it and work with it instead of trying to force myself into a traditional schedule — or even a traditional work-8-hours-at-a-time deal. I’m way more productive in the evenings, but of course, that’s generally when anyone I want to spend time with is available, so I’ve learned to break up my day so I can still do something fun in the evenings.

    I’m still figuring it out, because the downside of not really having a set routine is that you can definitely feel like you’re constantly working. But I do enjoy the fact that I can get personal things taken care of earlier in the day when everyone else is working, and I can stay up late when everything’s quiet and power through my to-do list.

    • I agree with you, Lisa. Working 8 hours straight isn’t really my thing. I doubt many people REALLY thrive off of that (especially when most of our society is sitting at a desk.

      I read an interview with Seth Godin last week and he said he didn’t have a typical day and that he was glad he didn’t! I need to embrace my quirks more.

  • I’ve never been a morning person either. In college I was routinely up at 7:30, but I also had very little to do – so I would get up, have a bagel and coffee, read the New York Times, and then head off to class at 9:30. Ah, bliss. I miss those days.

    But I find that the more I have to do, or the more stressed I am, the more I sleep. What’s strange is that when I’m up early, I get way more done. Another factor playing into how much I sleep is bedroom light. Since we don’t have any windows, I could probably sleep for 24 hours like Rip Van Winkle. Our wake-up lamp helps me a little, but I really just need a room with windows in order to be up at a natural time.

    That being said, I still have to be productive by around 9:30 every weekday morning, so I make do. The problem I’m finding is that after working a full day of work, I’m too exhausted to do any blog work (hence why I’ve been so behind on posting this week) or any digital work for Girls on the Run. So then I feel guilty about all of that…even though all I want to do is go to bed and get some sleep.

    • I would love to document my sleep schedule and pair it with stress levels and diet. Of course…who has the time to do that? Ha! But I agree, a slower wake up is my ideal morning. The other day I woke up at 8 but then made breakfast, got ready, and was working in the studio by 10!

  • Agree. I’m pretty useless in the mornings; in fact, my workmate and I were both just saying that today!

    I went part-time recently and there’s a bit of me which feels paranoid about that because occasionally when people hear that they assume that I’m lazy/rich/a new mother and, in fact, I’m just giving myself more time to do the things that I’m interested in and don’t mind the money being tighter.

    • Good for you, Sarah! I hate that people, especially parents, are made to feel guilty based on what they do for themselves and their family. I’ve found that money doesn’t bring on happiness. I tend to be more stressed when my income levels rise.

  • I’m not a late sleeper, but it definitely takes me a few hours to be able to handle being around people. I like to do some reading in the morning and maybe watch a show on netflix before coming in to work. I need some alone awake time to be civil. ;)

    • Yes! Civility is key! That’s also why I like a slow wake up and checking emails, blogs, responding to comments. No one can see my messy hair or my grumpy frown if I’m tired.

  • THANK YOU. I love sleep and totally share your views on the subject. I also take a nap every day and people think its weird. I think its awesome.

  • After being brought up by parents in the restaurant business, as an adult, I will always gravitate towards my night-owl-ishness. However, when I was 26, I met my fiance who was the complete opposite, and six years and a dog later, I find myself waking up at 4:45 am during the weekdays and sleeping into a luxurious 5:30 am on the weekends. Sometimes I shake head because now *I* am the one who rouses everybody up in the morning – even the darn dog.

    I will admit that waking up before the sun rises does pump up my productivity, mostly because the businesses I deal with close early depending on which time zone they are located. If I have bank business, I can be there right at 9 am on the dot, and by then I’ve already worked out, walked the dog, washed the dishes, conducted my morning bookkeeping, showered, fed the household, etc.; whereas when I’ve woken up later, I find myself so incredibly behind and rushed to get my errands done by 5 pm when everyone seems to close.

    The embarrassing downside is that if I am not in bed by 8:30 pm – 9:00 pm every night (weekends included!), I will just about fall asleep anywhere I happen to be. And of course, my friends love to make fun of what an old grandma I turned out to be. To think: ten years ago, my social life didn’t even *start* until 10 pm!

    • Annie- love the honesty! It is good to hear a success story (in the sense that a late sleeper turned into a early riser). I agree, the mornings that I’ve given myself plenty of time to get my personal stuff complete…the better I feel all day. And that definitely depends on what time I go to bed. If I have a meeting in the AM, I know that I need to handle my evening differently!

  • Another not a morning person here! I’ve been made to feel lazy because it’s hard for me to get up. And I LOOOVE naps! I’ve had weight and other health issues since I was 9, so I’ve always been slower, more tired, and done less than other people. But you know what? I am who I am and I can work with that. I overhauled my diet & lost some weight & then here I am at a pretty big speed bump, but I’m almost to the other side. That’s the thing about me. I don’t give up. And at the end of the day, do I really want to have finished a quilt or made a 10 course meal or a whole scrapbook or even one blog post (somedays)? Not really. I’m fine with being me. I’d like to finish the projects that I do start tho & that’s one thing I’m working on. :) Sorry to write a novel here. ;)

    • Yes! See? VERY productive and I love that you’re taking ownership of it. I love your positive attitude and it shows via your blog AND on Twitter.

  • Hello, Allison!
    I discovered your blog last night and I have been loving reading your “Here We Go” features as well as the general content of your blog. I wanted to thank you for all the amazing tips you offer here!

    As for sleeping in… I am myself a morning person. I hardly sleep past 9:30am – unless if I have been partying the night before and went to bed very late. Personally, I feel that if I get up by 8am the latest, I get to do more than if I decided to stay in bed longer. I hate sleeping in; it gives me the impression of being sick. I love to catch the sunrise, feel the coolness of the mornings while drinking a hot cup of tea and planning in my head what I need to do that day. Even if I can be productive at night, I find myself being more energetic in the morning. It takes me to have a good hot cup of tea and a good morning shower to be up and going!

    Everyone has their schedule as you pointed out, and you should not feel ashamed to sleep “late” if you know that you work better at night. It is just a matter of preference, and for the rest, people will always talk! ;)


    • Welcome to Show + Tell, Colette! Glad you commented and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed all the tips! Gosh, after your comment…waking up early sounds kind of nice! I will say…that when I do wake up early naturally, I do enjoy all those extra hours in my day! It’s so peaceful in the morning and in the summers I love the cool temps.

  • My issue is more that I am more productive mid-morning but working a 9-5 job makes getting up so difficult! Even with a reasonable bed time the night before, my body just does not like getting up at 6.30!

    I always wonder who the 9-5 working day was designed for – who actually is productive during those hours and in those forced circumstances? By about 3.30 I am almost no use and have to really struggle to get things done, so I plan my important tasks for the morning but could really do with mixing it up hours-wise!

  • Amen sister! I hated when people would try to make me feel bad for waking up after 7 am! Now I don’t care because I’m living life in which fits me best! My energy turns on at 5 pm and am more productive at that time than all morning!

  • I’ve never been a morning person, so if I go to sleep at 3am there’s no way I’m getting my butt out of bed before 11. I hate that people try to make me feel bad for sleeping in – they’re just jealous I get up and go to work whenever I please :)

  • Jess Rogers

    I am just SO thankful that I have a job where it is ok to get in at 9:45/10:00 and I can take a break for dinner/hanging out with my husband and then work until 2 am if I want. I’m always more productive at night and my managers have finally just let it happen.

    • Me too, Jess! It’s amazing to have supportive people in our lives (even when it comes to our sleep and schedules). Glad you have that :)

  • I LOVE THIS POST. I am the same way and my family always makes fun of me for it. I’m kind of sick of everyone implying that I’m less of a person because I can’t wake up early. I’ve stopped caring and developed the same mentality : how can I do my best work on my OWN schedule? I’ve realized my productive hours are later in the day. I still work just as hard and a full day, just at different times. And I think that’s ok. :) We need to work to our own natural rhythms!!

    • I totally feel the same way! I’m not sure why people feel like they can voice such an opinion over things like sleep or how I choose to eat!!

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