COVID19 Habits

Day 144 // Habit Series: SLEEP

August 6, 2020

First, I am happy to report that yesterday went as well as one can expect! Annabel held down the fort all morning, and G slept through the afternoon while the iPad babysitter kept A&C as happy as clams.

I am proud of my 8 year old babysitter! I would not want to do this as a matter of routine (it was stressful, to say the least) but — well, we all survived. The house wasn’t even a terrible disaster (only a minor one).

G did manage to cover herself in paint & washable marker (“I’m a kitty!”) but this was actually after the work day once I was in charge again. Oops! As you can see, she was quite thrilled with her accomplishment.

All 3 kids got to order gifts from Target (A = bracelet making set with 38374 components, C = pool toys & face paint, G = puffy stickers). THEN at around 7:30, Josh got home and I declared myself finished with parenting. He took over (thank god) and I put myself to bed at 9 pm.


On that note, let’s discuss sleep. Such a cornerstone habit – yet it’s so easy to forget the importance!

First of all, I love sleep. But I almost never wake up without an alarm because I also love my mornings (and this blog, and my workouts, and my alone time). I have found that the sweet spot between feeling functional and mentally clear AND getting to enjoy my morning time is about 7-7.5 hours, plus some delicious catchup naps on weekends.

This usually looks like:


8:30 START kids’ bedtime process

9:00 Ideally kids are in bed (often run a little late. Plus, usually Josh puts the big kids to bed while I handle G).

9:15 Get self ready for bed

9:30 – 10:00 Somewhere in that window –> go to sleep

5:00 UP. Unless I have a day off with childcare, and then I can sleep later and get my usual ‘morning routine’ in later in the day.

On weekends:

SAME-ish schedule, maybe a little more flexibility on the ‘going to bed’ end (but not much)

5:00 UP unless I’m insanely tired and just need a sleep-in day, which does happen every so often.

1:30 NAP! Usually setting my phone for 31 minutes, but sometimes longer

I did try the Sleep Cycle app for a while and liked it, but just kind of forgot about it!

For me, getting less than 7 hours more than one day in a row is a recipe for disaster (and one of the reasons I really detest taking call overnight).

How much sleep do you need/get?


  • Reply Louisa August 6, 2020 at 7:22 am

    I second your love of a good nap – I think in an ideal world I’d nap every day, and then stay up later – I should be a Southern European rather than a British one – though I think even in Greece and south it’s no longer entirely culturally normal to siesta – what a shame!
    I wish i could get by on 7/7.5 hours though. I need my 8, particularly when I’m exercising hard! I tend to have a slightly later bedtime (about 10) and drag self out of bed at 0600 for a slightly truncated morning routine to yours. 10mins headspace, 15 mins Pilates, 10-15 mins planning, 15 mins reading (work or self-improvement!).
    The kids will surface by 7 latest (youngest usually chatting but happy from about 0645). They are nearly 8, 5, and 21 months. What time do your gang surface? Just curious as yours have a MUCH later bedtime than mine – youngest down by 7, middle 7.30, oldest usually by 8pm!
    Maybe they, like me, need more sleep – perhaps genetic! Then I run round like a nutter for an hour cleaning up / making lunches for tomorrow. 2100 quality sofa time with other half usually, 2200 bedtime. Rock n roll :-).

  • Reply omdg August 6, 2020 at 7:28 am

    I am a kitty!! LOL. Adorable.

    This spring I finally was able to relax a bit on my bedtime, which had been 8:30 (but preferably 8) for years. On my OR days, I went to bed at 9 or 9:15 the night before, and got up at 5:30. On my non-OR days I went to bed at 9:30 or 9:45 and got up at 6. It was so nice to be able to have a more adult bedtime again!

    Glad your day went better than expected.

  • Reply gwinne August 6, 2020 at 7:55 am

    I’m glad yesterday went well. I always love a post about sleep 🙂

    In the era of life through age ~38, parenting one child, my sleep needs were consistently 8-8.5 hr/night. Then there were some bad years (Tiny Boy’s infancy through age 4) when I still generally required as much and my sleep was so fragmented (he woke up to 5 times/night through age 3.5) that I couldn’t tell you the math. Since quitting lunesta last summer (and near menopause?), I seem to do okay at 7.5/8 hrs of consolidated sleep. I do not nap, barring major issue like actual head injury. I do sleep in if I need on weekends. This summer I’ve mostly been sleeping 11-7 and want to work it back a bit when we start school. 10:30-6:30 would probably be ideal between having some LG time in the evening and having some solo time in the morning.

  • Reply Jenn August 6, 2020 at 8:22 am

    Under normal circumstances I am sooo good about sleep! I love getting a full 8 hours! Which is why the night feeds (usually 2, sometimes 1 if I’m lucky) are killing me!

  • Reply trish August 6, 2020 at 10:17 am

    Oh my goodness, I am amazed that you can work out regularly (and chase kids) on 7 hours! I really need 8 hours for bare minimum function, and aim for 9 during the week and 10 on weekends.

  • Reply Jen August 6, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Sleep is so hard when you’re in the thick of the little kid years! I know i love sleep. And i wear my Garmin all the time and i know i feel best when i get about 4 hours of ‘deep sleep’ … my youngest is 3 and he generally sleeps all night now so i do feel so much more rested. I feel like a new person! But it still feels like it’s never quite enough …
    And now there are also other aggravating factors – like anxiety over the pandemic that had me unusually awake for a while last night, or my on-going issues with getting my B12 levels up which make me feel extra fatigued.

  • Reply Gillian August 6, 2020 at 10:38 am

    So glad to hear yesterday went okay.

    I use my apple watch to track sleep (it seems pretty accurate) and I average 7.4 hours per night over a week, but I have a very set weekly pattern where some days I get as little as 5.5-6 hours of sleep and then make up for it by sleeping 8+ hours for a few nights. This is all because 3 days a week I need to get up at 4:45 for work and I have a 13 year old who has taken to watching an episode of Seinfeld in my by at 9:30 most nights. I wouldn’t give up the time with him right now.

    Interestingly, in March and April when COVID was at its peak in my area I was sleeping a little more, not less…

    • Reply Elisabeth August 6, 2020 at 1:15 pm

      Gillian, I’m curious how you track with your Apple Watch. I track just about everything on my Apple Watch EXCEPT sleep. Do you use the Apple app, or a different one? And, do you leave it on your bedside table, or sleep with it on?

      • Reply Gillian August 7, 2020 at 7:13 am

        I use an app called SleepWatch and I do wear my watch to sleep. Unless I am on call I put my phone on Do Not Disturb at night so texts don’t wake me.

        • Reply Elisabeth August 7, 2020 at 8:00 am

          Thanks! I have the app downloaded. Can’t wait to get a better handle on how I’m sleeping (not enough, I’m pretty sure…).

  • Reply Sam@Eye to Wonder August 6, 2020 at 11:58 am

    I’ve been intrigued about sleep cycle. I don’t usually nap on the weekends, but I have definitely done this more and found it amazingly recharging in the past month or two.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns August 6, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    I’m also someone who needs sleep. I average about 7:45 minutes but need more right now since I am pregnant. Ideally, 8-8.5 hours. So I go to bed earlier/get up later right now which I can do since I don’t have a commute and don’t have to get ready. Woo hoo! I used to routinely get up at 5:30 to workout before going to work but that was when I lived in a condo w/ a gym. Since moving in with my boyfriend-now-husband, I have not made early morning workouts work… Maybe that will change when I’m out of the baby/toddler years in, oh, 4 years? But for now, everyone is happier when mama gets her sleep.

    I have a fitbit which tracks my sleep. I find that I get VERY LITTLE deep sleep. I don’t know why that is. I imagine I’d see different metrics if I had an apple watch. But it seems like I am a very light sleeper. And right now I am struggling w/ pregnancy insomnia, so I have trouble falling asleep several times a week and then will wake up during the night and have to read to get back to sleep. So I am using weekend naps to get through life right now! I was never a napper before having kids, though.

    Glad yesterday went pretty well all in all! Yay! G sure is a cute kitty. 🙂

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 6, 2020 at 3:08 pm

      I TOTALLY need more sleep while pregnant!! Like 8-9. Especially first trimester oh my goodness!!

      • Reply Sophie August 6, 2020 at 4:36 pm

        I’m pregnant right now too and I definitely have needed an extra hour of sleep (8.5 instead of 7.5) throughout the whole pregnancy (I’m almost 3rd trimester now). I usually also rise by 5/5.30 for personal time in the morning (and would wake naturally at that time without an alarm) but I’ve had to let that go right now and I wake at 6.30ish instead and only have half an hour tops before my 3 year old is up. Oh well it’s a temporary thing.

  • Reply Marina August 6, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    I think I need at least 7.5, ideally 8 hours. When I wake up early to work out (just one day a week for the early morning, usually it’s lunchtime workouts), I feel it by the end of the day. I typically sleep from 10pm – just before 6am. I should probably go to bed closer to 9 on the days I wake up at 5:15am, but it just seems soo early to start getting ready for bed at 9! My kids are down by 7:30pm now though so I have no excuse for not getting enough time at night, as 1.5 hours is plenty (for having 2 small kids!)

  • Reply Coco August 6, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    I also need 7-9 hrs of sleep, which seems a lot as I survived sleeping 6 hrs for years. My kids go to sleep (or their rooms and lights out) around 8pm so I am usually in bed by 8:30pm and fall asleep within 30 min usually. Since pandemic I’ve been up since 4-5am and loving it as this is my alone quiet time for 1 to 1.5 hrs before I go out for a run.
    I don’t nap that much but when I don’t sleep enough, I need it, usually less than 45 min.

  • Reply Marcia (OrganisingQueen) August 11, 2020 at 10:10 am

    I definitely need about 7.5 hours.

    A few years ago I set a goal to get first 7 hours, then 7,5 hours and I track it religiously. I find when I’m in a good sleep situation, I wake automatically after 7.5 hours. My actual goal these days is 8 hours because… why not? We’re in a pandemic, right 🙂

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