Is there anyone else out there that has spent the childhood of their children sleep deprived? Mind you, mine are all in their teens and twenties, and I am STILL sleep deprived! What gives with this? Okay, my husband is an early bird with no regard to those of us that are night owls. The early bird might get the worm, but the night owl would like some sleep!
Now, it is not my children that deprive me of sleep. It is my husband! (And the grandchildren that I care for on a pretty regular basis.) Okay. He's never been considerate or understanding of the night owl. I get that. What I do not get is early birds! Of course, I am thankful that he wants the worm. One of us needs to, right? However, if I had to catch the worm, we wouldn't eat worms. We would eat rodents and other small animals, and poop pellets that no one will ever find on their car windshield! Alas, the worm does provide for our needs, and the early bird is the one procuring said worm, so I should just be thankful, right?
Okay, I'm thankful! Now, how do I get some sleep? My early bird husband can sleep through anything. Yes, ANYTHING! The kids could literally be bouncing off of his head, and he would be sawing a pile of logs. Noise has never bothered him, and since it doesn't bother him, and that is his normal, it should be everyone else's version of normal, right? Well, it is not my version of normal. For me normal would be that someone that gets up when other people are sleeping would be quiet and considerate of the person or people that are still sleeping. It has NEVER been that way.
Since consideration for the sleeping person or persons in our home has never been an issue for him, it was never an issue for our children either. I have literally spend the past 12 years without enough sleep. Now that I am nearing 40 I am finding that I do not handle it as well anymore. I NEED TO SLEEP! This is where the hearing loss in my right ear is an occasional blessing. When I need more quiet, I just lay on my left ear. Miracle of miracles! However, unless I am VERY tired this really doesn't work all that well. BUT, it does allow me more sound sleep once I am asleep, and when I am really over tired it allows me to sleep through the noise of my early bird getting ready to catch his worm.
The ear trick is really the only solution I have found that offers any little bit of assistance in my sleep quality. I remember when the kids, we had seven remember, would complain about not having their own room I would point out to them that I didn't even get my own room, so I didn't want to hear about it! Heck, I don't even get my own bed, and I never will have my own bedroom or my own bed. Case closed! Respect the sleeping mom, everyone. She has to share with EVERYONE in the household.
I have found some solace in the fact that any minimal research will inform you that we are genetically predisposed to our bird-style existence. Whether or not we are an early bird or night owl is not a conscious choice. God made us that way! According to Julie Piotrowski in her article at msnbc.com we are pre-wired as a worm getter or rodent hunter, and it is possible to change. However, it does not sound at all appealing to me. What would be appealing when compared with the same effort given in changing your diet? Somehow we are just going to have to learn to live with each other just the way we are...hmmm.
I found this quiz over at Canadian Living:
The following questionnaire is based on a longer questionnaire first published in 1976 and known as the Horne-Ostberg test. It explores whether you have a tendency to function better towards the end of a 24-hour day or at the beginning of one. Consider each question in turn and choose one response which best describes you. When you have answered all the questions, add up the score for each response. The final score will give you some indication of whether you are more of an "evening" person or a "morning" person.
1. Breakfast: how is your appetite in the first half hour after you wake up in the morning?
a) Very poor (1)
b) Fairly poor (2)
c) Fairly good (3)
d) Very good (4)
2. How do you feel for the first half hour after you wake up in the morning?
a) Very tired (1)
b) Fairly tired (2)
c) Fairly refreshed (3)
d) Very refreshed (4)
3. When you have no commitments the next day, at what time do you go to bed compared to your usual bedtime?
a) Seldom or never later (4)
b) Less than 1 hour later (3)
c) 1–2 hours later (2)
d) More than 2 hours later (1)
4. You are starting a new fitness regime. A friend suggests joining his fitness class between 7am and 8am. How do you think you'd perform?
a) Would be on good form (4)
b) Would be on reasonable form (3)
c) Would find it difficult (2)
d) Would find it very difficult (1)
5. At what time in the evening do you feel tired and in need of sleep?
a) 8pm–9pm (5)
b) 9pm–10.15pm (4)
c) 10.15pm–12.45am (3)
d) 12.45am–2am (2)
e) 2am–3am (1)
6. If you went to bed at 11pm, how tired would you be?
a) Not at all tired (0)
b) A little tired (2)
c) Fairly tired (3)
d) Very tired (5)
7. One night you have to remain awake between 4am and 6am. You have no commitments the next day. Which suits you best?
a) Not to go to bed until 6am (1)
b) Nap before 4am and after 6am (2)
c) Sleep before 4am and nap after 6am (3)
d) Sleep before 4am and remain awake after 6am (4)
8. At what time of day do you feel your best?
a) Midnight–5am (1)
b) 5am–9am (5)
c) 9am–11am (4)
d) 11am–5pm (3)
e) 5pm–10pm (2)
f) 10pm–midnight (1)
9. Do you think of yourself as a morning or evening person?
a) Morning type (6)
b) More morning than evening (4)
c) More evening than morning (2)
d) Evening type (0)
10. Suppose that you can choose your own work hours, but had to work 5 hours in a day. When would you like to START your working day?
a) Midnight–5am (1)
b) 3am–8am (5)
c) 8am–10am (4)
d) 10am–2pm (3)
e) 2pm–4pm (2)
f) 4pm–midnight (1)
Scoring: Add up the number of circled points that you scored for each answer to find out just how much of a lark or an owl you are. The maximum number of points you can get from this questionnaire is 46 and the minimum is 8. The higher your score, the more of a morning lark you are. The lower your score, the more of a night owl you are, and you probably function better in the evenings. The majority of people come somewhere between these two extremes.
Based on past experience, I know for certain I am a night owl. I definitely try to adapt to this early bird world, and household, but I just cannot seem to do it completely. When it boils right down to it, I would be happiest going to bed between 11PM and 1AM and getting up between 9 and 10AM. Oh, my perfect world!