So it’s been brought to my attention, that my habit of going to bed between one and three am, for a seven-thirty am start, might be somehow counter-productive to my health and well-being, especially now, when my body’s beginning to move again……

Now the challenge has been issued (in 12WBT) to go to bed by nine-thirty pm, no technology for the last half hour, then lights out by ten….and I repeat “Wait….10pm, are you kidding me? Who goes to bed by 10pm?!”

According to the forums on 12WBT, as it turns out an enormous number of people put themselves to bed at this time or earlier and yes, I’m being a little bit flippant about this, I know my sleeping habits have been….less than helpful…but I don’t think I’d really registered how unhelpful, or how many people are actually well-rested by comparison.

When my kids were very little, but past that constantly waking up for a feed sort of time, night times were so precious. They were the times no-one was calling me, or asking me for things, or needing me to comfort or find socks, or make food. Banks and businesses were shut, so there was no business to conduct. They were heady times. Silent, liberated, calm. My heart rate was allowed to slow, my mind was allowed to roam free, ranging over subjects that wouldn’t get a look in, in the maelstrom of my days.

I protected those night hours, after my family had gone to sleep. I needed them, to reset, to just be Claudia and not someone’s mother or wife.

But they’re not little anymore and although there’s still a fair amount of maelstrom-like activity in our house, I have more quiet time than I’ve ever had since they were born.

Which means……that maybe I can let go of those late, late nights…

Now there’s a revolutionary idea.

So I did. I accepted the challenge. 14 days of being in bed by nine-thirty pm, without my laptop and lights off by ten pm. Then up again at six am. Not that I can go anywhere at six am, given that Andy’s already gone to work by then but still. Maybe eventually I’ll use the time to garden, or do some sort of stretching routine. Who knows what excitement will ensue!

Last night I was showered and in bed almost at the right time. I didn’t actually turn the lights off until ten-thirty but I’d left my laptop in my study and that was a start. I ended up listening to a relaxation recording to get to sleep, since my mind was still alert, trained as it is, to exist on starvation rations of sleep. Which doesn’t mean that I’m one of those lucky people for whom four hours’ sleep is enough. I’m not. I’m one of those people for whom three pm is a dangerous time, full of yawning and dragging of feet.

I think I must have fallen asleep at about eleven, which wasn’t too bad….except that I woke up at four….am….which was so ridiculous that I turned over, determined to finish out the night and get up at six am, as per the challenge. Which isn’t what happened. I got up at five, got dressed, went into the kitchen, cleaned up, got coffee and came here to write.

Which looked like this....

Which looked like this….

But now there’s the morning chorus, songs of kookaburras and other birds that I can’t name….so many of them! The sun’s coming up, slowly. The kids are still asleep and there’s a soft silence. I think I could get to like this.

I’m looking forward to discovering what it feels like to be well-nourished, not just with the right food but with a good amount of sleep.

In the meantime, here’s a gratuitous picture of last night’s dinner while I go and make more coffee…..