I know last year, and frankly even the year before that, I was in an extremely unhealthy routine of only getting five hours (ish) of sleep every night. I would wake up between 5:00 and 5:30 in the morning to go to work…not out of necessity, mind you, because I was there almost two hours before everyone else, but because I ended up in that routine somehow and just didn’t want to change it.
I got through every day just fine, or so I thought. Recently I realized just how different people can feel when they’ve actually had a decent amount of sleep compared to when they haven’t. Let me explain. Ever since 2018 began, I have been going to sleep, on average, between 10:30 and 11:00 each night, though it was often closer to 11:00. Sometimes that would be different, of course, but on average that’s what it would turn out to be. Now, due to some other life changes, specifically a new job, I’ve now been waking up at roughly 6:30 in the morning. Now, this doesn’t seem like too much of a difference from 5:30 am, but it truly is. I am now getting, typically seven hours of sleep each weeknight (more on weekends). I’ll be honest, for almost the first three months I believed there wasn’t really any difference, not really. Sure, there were some indications, and I have talked about them a little, but if you asked me about it more, I would have said I could easily go back to my routine from before. Up until a few days ago, anyway.
A few days ago, I only got four hours of sleep (at most) one night. I went to bed at a reasonable time, but I found myself tossing and turning until at least 2:30 in the morning. I imagine it was closer to 3:00 am when I finally fell asleep, but 2:30 am was the last time I actually saw on my phone. I’ve thought about it since and I cannot identify a specific cause. I only had green tea in the evening and there was nothing stressing me out. I had stuck to the same routine, and yet I could not fall asleep. I did eventually, but I know it wasn’t for very long. That said, I slept through most of my alarms and had to rush in the morning in order to make it on time to work. I did, but throughout the entire day, it was as if I had the absolute bare minimum of energy in my body. I did end up making it through the day, but I hadn’t been that tired in a long time. When I actually crawled into my bed that night, I swear it was like I had been hit by a tranquilizer. I was out like a light in no time whatsoever.
Now, falling asleep that quickly was nice given the terrible night I had just had, but it’s evidence to me about just how exhausted you can feel when you don’t get enough sleep. I think it is definitely possible to adapt, but it’s mostly due to ignorance. Eventually, your body will, in my theory at least, simply forget what feeling fully energized is like. I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want to go back to not getting enough sleep. I think, in the end, it actually took me two nights to recover from the one where I only got four hours of rest. The first night after, of course, provided the most dramatic difference and I wasn’t incredibly tired following that night, but I could definitely tell I wasn’t where I had been before the night of sheer sleep deprivation.
I don’t really have much of a point to this post beyond my realization about sleep. I guess it boils down to I am so glad my routine has changed and now I sleep a decent amount each night. Should it be more? Probably, but I’m a work in progress.
What about you? How much do you sleep? Do you think it’s enough or are you aware you don’t sleep enough? How many hours do you think you need to sleep every night? Let me know!