Sometimes you don’t really know how much you miss something until it’s gone.
For me, I’ve missed the ability to wake up naturally. And guess who stole that ability from me? Both my babies, but especially my last child, my son. He has not been a good sleeper for most of his 2 years. In particular, for the first 20 months or so he would wake up between 5-5:30am. I joked at the inhumanity and indecency of being alive at that hour. Despite my valiant efforts, I was never truly able to recover from waking that early. I would almost always need a nap to get through my day, and even then, I still might not really feel “well” that day.
How do other people do it? I don’t know, but it’s not good for my body rhythm.
For the last couple weeks, I’ve finally begun to sleep in just a little longer now that my son is more self-sufficient. He can get himself out of his crib and entertain himself for a little bit. I can hear that he is awake as no amount of effort will turn off my “mom ears,” but I am afforded a much more gradual waking process.
I can wake slowly. Stretch. Lay there in bed with my eyes closed, letting my thoughts drift as they please. Those moments are so precious to me. I’d actually forgotten how much I needed them. It makes such a huge difference in how I feel throughout the day when I am able to awake on my own terms, as opposed to ripping myself out of bed to attend to a screaming baby.
I first realized the benefits of waking up naturally when I was doing my MBA. Due to my anxiety and panic attacks, I decided quit my full-time job, electing to work part time for my husband’s company. Because I didn’t have to be at work at a particular time, I stopped setting an alarm. I was a little worried that I would oversleep, but I actually didn’t. And waking up on my own helped me to feel the best I’ve felt in my entire adult life.
I believe being woken up by anything other than your own body is a potential disturbance to your sleep cycles. I found that I was getting very good sleep in the early morning hours, between 5-8am. I slept deeply and had intense dreams during these hours. I woke up after these sleep cycles feeling refreshed and well rested. My mind was clear and my energy was optimal.
I had to start setting an alarm again when I got a job after I completed my Master’s program. As long as I went to bed at a decent hour, this didn’t pose that much of a struggle. But, I was fortunate to be able to carry on this habit when my company allowed me to work from home after two years of working in the office. Again, this contrast allowed me to see how much better I felt by eliminating the alarm clock. Under this setup, I did still need to set my alarm just in case I didn’t wake up on time to be online by 9am. But it was very rare that I would not be up before I heard it’s familiar ring.
Very recently, my children are my alarms. I was spoiled by my daughter who would play quietly and wait for me to wake up beginning at around 1 year. I am truly grateful that my son is finally entering this stage as well. Waking up naturally makes such a positive impact on how I feel and my outlook on the day.
What about you? Do you allow yourself to wake naturally? If it’s not possible to do on a workday, would you consider trying to sleep in on the weekend, or taking turns with your partner?
Shannan Panganiban says
Ah, this sounds amazing. I definitely am awoken by my kids everyday LOL
I dream of the day when I can wake up naturally! Soon enough I know I’ll be the one telling my kids to get out of bed ;). But it is amazing how much better you feel when you wake up without an alarm. I’ve been eyeing a natural light alarm for a while to help with the days I have to wake up early but I haven’t convinced myself to bite the bullet yet.
This sounds like the most luxurious way to wake up! I really need to start practicing this way of waking up for the days that I don’t have to wake up with the baby!
So true. Those days when I’m able to not have to set an alarm are THE BEST DAYS.
I would love to wake naturally! I’m a bit away from that stage with my babies, but looking forward to it!
I have also found that when I have the opportunity to wake up naturally, I feel much better!
If I woke up naturally, I might wake up next week 🙂 I do try to get up a few minutes before the kids – so that means an alarm. But, I can’t be woken up suddenly. I need the gradual wake up too!
That sounds great, but my son is like yours and doesn´t let me yet
I’m not much of a sleeper, but I whole-heartedly agree with you about waking up. Even when I do have to get up really early, I almost always wake up before my alarm. Most days I do not set it at all.
My husband is better without sleep than I am, so he typically gets up with the kids in the morning, and then wakes me when I’m needed. Slightly better than waking up to a jarring alarm, but it would still be better if I could just sleep until my body was ready to get up.
I definitely dont wake up naturally! ha! Most of the time my kids wake me up, if not I count on my alarm.