Sleep Number 7 (at least)
As a mother of four young children, I thought exhaustion was just part of the deal – along with an expanded waist line, stained carpets and legs in desperate need of a shave. My fatigue didn’t ring any alarms in my head until I noticed that takeout for dinner had become the norm, the laundry hampers were overflowing, and the dust balls in the corner were larger than my three year old. I began to suspect that my night time ritual of staying up until midnight was not doing wonders for my energy levels. Sure, mindlessly watching television from 9pm onwards represented ME time, but I was going to have to give it up if I wanted the energy to balance my home and work schedules, and especially if I ever wanted to see my third child again. He was buried in his bedroom under a mountain of toys that I was too tired to clean up. But that meant I had to go to bed by 11pm if I had any hope of getting in at least seven hours of sleep a night. No more Bravo television programming, late night talk shows, comedy news shows, or South Park reruns. I had always thought those few hours of brain numbing television were what my body needed to reenergize after a day spent simultaneously wiping noses and putting in hours for work. Turns out my body really just needed sleep. Turning off the TV and sticking to an earlier bedtime allows me to get seven hours of sleep on average. Having energy to stay on top of my schedule actually leaves me with more down time during the day. My house is cleaner, I’m more efficient at work, and I’ve even been able to free my son from his toy prison.
Mary Doehla is the co-founder of Highlighting History. She lives with her husband, four children, and two turtles in Albany, New York. Vote for Mary’s entry here.