what time do you go to sleep?

I’ve always wanted to be the kind of person who bounds out of bed in the morning, refreshed and optimistic….

Instead, my first groggy thought when I wake up is always, “What are the chances I can go back to sleep?” I don’t drink coffee, I rarely have an appetite for breakfast and I’ve never had an exercise routine to get me going. I’m a morning misanthrope.

A couple of years ago, I tried to reinvent myself. I polled all my friends for suggestions on becoming an early bird. One said to pound a big glass of cold water immediately after waking up, on the theory that hydration is the holy grail of morning energy. Another told me to read news and email on my phone right away to jumpstart my hazy brain. Someone else recommended an app that would sense my sleep cycle through my pillow and rouse me at an optimal moment. Nothing worked in the slightest. I even asked my doctor and he had this surprising response — “Two words: turkey bacon.” (Unfortunately, nibbling protein before 7 a.m. didn’t help either, and “turkey bacon” is now a household code phrase for a rough morning.)

Over time, what has worked is admitting that I can’t be both a night owl and an early bird. I need my sleep. When I go to bed early enough to get eight hours, I can awken semi-cheerfully. It sounds simple, but… My husband wakes up freakishly chipper after six hours, or even significantly less. He’s a morning person on the incomprehensible, guilt-inducing level of Martha Stewart and Bill Clinton. After years of sweetly going to sleep at the same time, I now get into bed much earlier on my own and try hard to tune out the sense of wakefulness coming from other parts of our apartment. Sometimes, I fall asleep right away, sometimes my husband will tuck me in and pat my hair, but just as often I’ll lay awake by myself in the dark because I can’t wind down when I know someone else is up. And, late-night is still, quite simply, my jam. It’s a work in progress.

So, I’m fascinated to hear: What’s your sleep routine like? Do you coordinate sleep with your significant other, or do you go to bed at different times?

P.S. Reading in bed and Joanna’s 8 lessons about marriage.

(Photo by Reidar Pritzel)