I have a sister who used to fall asleep at exactly noon, every day, no fail, no matter what she was doing. We always loved hearing the story about how one time we were in a fancy dining room for lunch. The clock struck noon, and with nobody there to catch her head..... *SPLAT!* down she went, face first right into her food.
Some of you may recall that after coming back from vacation, I wanted to start waking up at 6am to see the sun rise. While I have had quite a few successful early morning wake ups recently, I've also been paying closer attention to my body's natural rhythm and sleep cycles.
I've always known that I'm a nigh hawk. Since I can remember, I've always preferred to stay up late than to wake up early. Don't get me wrong - I love the sun rise, and am totally able to wake up at insanely early hours with an annoying abundance of energy. But give me the night.
What I was never really sure of, however, was how much sleep I needed. I've always had jobs or classes to get to, work to be done, people to see, etc., such that I would run on pure adrenaline some days. Only recently have I had the time and complete freedom of schedule to really get in tune with my sleep needs.
I've realized that if I have no alarm set and no obligations in the morning, my body will wake up at 9:30am almost to the minute. I can get up as early as 8am without trouble, but any earlier than that and I'm a little bit groggy (though still cheerful.... ;D) I've learned that with no constraints on my bedtime, I naturally get tired around 11pm, and fall asleep between 12 and 1am. I can crawl into bed as early as 10:30pm, but any earlier than that and I'll be tossing and turning rather than sleeping. 8.5 - 9 hours of sleep is ideal; at 7 hours I'm functional; anything less than 6 (or more than 10) hurts me.
So that's all well and good, but what does that mean? Well, it makes scheduling a heck of a lot faster and easier! Everything from social activities, to gym times, to meal times can be based off this information. It also means that when I do finally start to work again, I'll have a better idea of what kind of work hours I'm looking for (yes, I do believe that people have a right to be picky when it comes to finding a job that works with their schedules, and not the other way around. "Work to live, don't live to work" is my motto). But most importantly, I've found that working with, rather than against, my body's natural rhythm has helped me to maximize my energy, translating into better workouts, less severe hunger, improved mood and mental clarity, and all that other good stuff that comes from getting a good night's sleep!
Well that's my little blurb for the day. As I'm writing this I'm getting tired, and realize it's 11pm. I think I'll start getting ready for bed now. Goodnight!