How Did You Spend Your Extra Hour?

clockDid you remember to turn your clocks back this weekend? It’s that glorious time of year where we take back that extra hour that was stolen from us last spring. How did you spend your extra hour?

My favorite usage of the hour is sleeping. I know it may seem wasteful or sloth-like (one of the Seven Deadly Sins), but I love to sleep. As a child, I could nod off during the shortest of car rides (I still do–but not when I’m driving). When I hit my teens, I craved sleep like a woman with PMS craves chocolate. As a college student, I scheduled morning classes whenever possible so I could work in an afternoon nap.

The sleep deprived period of having babies around the house was almost my undoing. Our children decided to take their sweet time before sleeping through the night. I vaguely remember those years through a zombie-like haze. We even upgraded our bed to king-size to accommodate toddlers crawling in for cuddles during the night (it was far easier than trying to get them to go back to sleep in their own beds. I’m sure Dr. Spock would disapprove, but I think everyone turned out okay — I actually miss those times). Now that the children are teenagers, the circle is complete; if left to their own devices, my kids would sleep for twelve hours at a stretch.

I’m definitely more of an early bird than a night owl. It’s all I can do to make it through prime time television viewing without snoozing on the couch. It never fails. I always doze off during the final ten minutes of a show–just when “who-done-it” is revealed. My husband insists on torturing me and not telling me how my favorite shows end.

Now that I’m older, I find myself still desiring the eight hours of sleep, but never getting them. I have no problem falling asleep, but invariably, I wake up in the wee hours of the morning and can’t get back to sleep. My mind starts to fret about work and run through the list of things I need to get done that day. Do any of you have that problem, too?

Helpful Sleep Techniques

Here are a few techniques that I’ve found helpful. They don’t always work all of the time, but they are worth trying (and if you think you have a chronic sleep disorder, definitely consult a professional):

  • Write down your thoughts so you can release them from your mind. I used to keep a notebook and a light-up pen next to my bed. Now I use the notepad feature on my iPhone. Once the thoughts are out of my head and captured elsewhere, I can allow myself to stop thinking about them for a little while.
  • Take several slow, deep breaths and concentrate on the breathing, itself, gradually relaxing your body each time you exhale.
  • Mental relaxation – give your mind something else to focus on. Here’s a link that suggests visualizing a graphic number ten and allowing it to morph into a countdown of digits (and more stylized version of counting sheep) as you let go of the day’s worries.
  • Keep your sleep environment dark and quiet. Sometimes falling back asleep is just a matter of grabbing a pair of eye shades and ear plugs.
  • And some sleep experts say if you awake in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep after 15 minutes, then just get up and do something non-stimulating until you are tired again (perhaps a warm soak in the tub).

Please post a comment and let me know if you have trouble sleeping, and what you do to help get a better night of shut-eye. Pleasant dreams.


  1. SueBucher says:

    I have tons of trouble sleeping. I find if I can’t get back to sleep, I go downstairs and either read or watch TV for a while. I can usually go back to sleep then. However, if I get off the couch to march upstairs and back to bed, it wakes me up again. So often, I’ll finish the night on the couch. I also get up early and finish early. Personally, I wish we didn’t have this time change twice a year. Maybe we should put together a petition to have the country stop doing this?! I see no reason why we do it in the first place.

  2. Barbara says:

    I am a vampire — my body clock would have me work all night and sleep all day. I find a scented candle (lightly) and reading is the best way to relax enough to sleep. Anything that is more stimulating will keep me up all night. And I never have coffee past 5 pm.

Leave a Reply