Sleep Survey!

Lately our sleep patterns have been way out of whack.  Daryl and I are both naturally night owls and Victoria was pretty much born a night owl.   The other kids have been a little more traditional but it has always been a struggle to keep us all on a “normal” schedule.

We’ve never been people who rise with the sun, with the exception of Alex.  He wakes up at around 7 at the latest, ready to meet the world.  Daryl gets up with him and starts the day with his boy.  They watch TV, do the dishes, have breakfast and work on things together.  Jack gets up around 8 or 9, and I get up a little later (keep in mind I do much of my writing late at night!).

The girls have been staying up later and later, and getting up later and later in the day.  They were never the type to wake at dawn (with the exception of when we’re visiting at Tiffany’s house, when they happily wake very early in the morning because that’s the tradition there), but now it’s getting a bit ridiculous.  We’re talking noon.

Part of me hears the voices of my grandmother, mother, ex-bosses, friends, etc. who have told me for years how despicable it is for some unknown reason to get up late.  There’s that early bird business, after all.  And there’s just some mysterious evil in sleeping all day, right?  Even if you sleep exactly the same amount of time, the world views it as somehow lazy and wrong.  It’s something I fought in myself all of my life and something that always made me feel just a little guilty.

On the other hand, life is so much easier on this schedule!  The girls are self sufficient at night and take care of their own needs.  Anna reads, writes songs, does art and even soaks in the bath in the wee hours.  Victoria reads, reads, reads and reads.  🙂  I also have time to talk to them and even do crafts with them when the boys are sleeping and the house is quiet.  Daryl has quiet time with Alex in the morning and then with just the boys.  It’s sort of a way to divide and conquer, and to give the kids more individual time.

Then again, I think sunlight has a powerful effect on our moods, health and behavior, and I worry about my kids missing much of it when the days are so short in the winter time as it is.

I know from experience that all of the kids can easily adapt to a very early schedule when they need to.  Victoria slept till around 10 when she was little, but when she had T-ball practice starting at 8 a.m. every summer morning she had no problem waking at 7.  And as I mentioned, at Tiffany’s house they happily adapt to that schedule.

What’s the sleep schedule like at your house?  Do your kids follow their natural rhythms, the ones you think are “right” or the ones that work best for the grown ups?  Are you naturally a night owl or early riser?  What are your thoughts on this whole sleep issue?



6 thoughts on “Sleep Survey!

  1. Alicia,

    Ah, the ever changing routines of sleep! I, too, grew up in a house where you weren’t supposed to sleep in and “waste the day!” That’s my dad’s voice. 🙂

    I used to be an early riser and Cory would stay up late, but last summer I started doing a paper route and now have to be up a little after 3 a.m. Monday through Saturday. I still usually don’t get to bed until around 11 p.m. because of the littler kids, but it helps a lot if I am able to go back to sleep for a couple hours after the route is done.

    Accalia and Cole usually go to sleep anywhere from 10:30 p.m. – midnight. Cole probably stays up later than any of the kids. It’s easy with them at night, too, since they do their own thing. They’ll get up anywhere from 8:30 and on, and it really goes through cycles. Ella will stay up nearly as late, it seems, and usually wakes up between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Tylan – my one napper! – sometimes isn’t asleep until 11 p.m. and usually gets up for the day around 9 a.m. or so. She comes on the paper route with me, too, and sleep through it all.


  2. Since I still work full time we are up pretty earl during the week. My alarm goes off at 5:15 am (blerg) and the kid is up around 6-ish. But I am naturally a night owl (DH too) and when I was on my 2 week vacation we were all sleeping in until 7:30/8 (that’s late for us! :). So I bet if I didn’t work so early in the morning and if DH didn’t have to get up early we’d at least be mid-morning risers instead of early ones.

    I think staying up late at night and sleeping in sounds divine!
    .-= kathleenslp´s last blog ..Tide Pools =-.


  3. Our son has always needed a lot of sleep, and regularly laments that “his body won’t let him sleep in”. Even though he is almost 13 he goes to bed at 8ish, because otherwise he doesn’t function well. He’s usually up by 6. But I’m pretty sure he is unusual.

    However, I was just reading the chapter on sleep in NurtureShock. It made two (somewhat contradictory?) points. One was that studies have shown that shifting children’s sleep later (but getting the same amount of sleep) does not result in as high of quality of sleep. (This begs the question…later than what? Their own norm, perhaps? In the study, it was looking at weekend versus weekday).

    The other point was that adolescents (starting at puberty) naturally shift their sleep schedule because melatonin production doesn’t start until later in the night, and making them get up super early for middle school and high school has a huge, huge educational cost – they can’t learn effectively.

    Here’s my take on it. There definitely can be downsides to not having a regular sleep schedule and not making good sleep a priority, but what that schedule is, is about what works for your family. It’s more about paying attention to effects and making adjustments than “getting it right” according to some arbitrary ideal.


  4. We each follow our own rhythm for the most part. I stay up until midnight(ish) and wake around 8am. Princess will go to sleep between 10pm and mindnight. How late she sleeps varies and it isn’t always relative to the time she went to sleep. There are times I’m stunned when she comes down the steps at 8:30am and there are times she will sleep until 11am (and on the rare occasion even later).

    We have classes at our homeschool resource center Wednesdays and Thursdays so we have to be up around 8am which is typical for me and early for Princess.

    LK is in Afgnanistan, but normally he will go to sleep early – around 9pm – and wake up early. He is definitely the early bird.

    I think following our natural rhythm is, well, natural. It works for us anyway. 🙂
    .-= Shady Lady´s last blog ..Doorknobs =-.


  5. My husband and I have always been night owls and now we are lucky enough that our girls are night owls as well. We do try to follow their natural sleep patterns but when we need to be up early for an event, trip, or class I try to get them to bed earlier so they can adjust to the earlier time.
    Otherwise, we don’t follow a bedtime schedule just night time routines.
    Pretty much everyone we know, knows we are not morning people. It’s a running joke. 😀
    .-= Samantha´s last blog ..Long time, no post =-.


  6. My kids are very early risers, usually up by 7:00 on DST. So, we make a serious effort to get them asleep early enough so they get in 10 hours or more at night.

    In the fall when we move the back the clock an hour, they are still waking at what their bodies think is 7:00 (but our clocks say 6:00) so we have to start the bedtime routine even earlier.

    So, this is my long way to explain that we have lights out at 7:00 right now b/c they’ll probably be up by 6:00. But once DST kicks in, we will stay up until 8:00.

    It works really well for DH and I b/c we have several hours in the evening together to connect and hang out.


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