Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Seven hours of sleep at night

It's 10 pm; the house is quiet. I double-check the locks on all the doors and go room-by-room, turning off the lights. The dishwasher is humming, the cat is following me, and there is a slight glow at the top of the stairs from our hallway nightlight. I slowly push back the door to my son's room to check on him. (I cherish the way he looks in slumber with one hand up by his face and an arm wrapped around his favorite stuffed animal.) I sneak into his room silently to find him sitting up at the side of the bed.

"Hi, Mom. I'm not sleepy tonight."


I tuck him back under the covers - despite his protests - and remind him that sleep in important. That sleep is what helps us remember the things that we learned during the day. That sleep is when our bodies grow. Not to mention that it is actually Mommy's bedtime and I don't want him to be uber grumpy in the morning.

So we sleep. And for most of my life, I thought I was getting enough sleep. I knew about the perils of not getting enough sleep and even about the risks of getting too much sleep. I even knew that the magic number appears to be around seven hours of sleep a night. But here's the problem - until recently, none of us were able to say how much sleep we were actually getting. You see, it hasn't been until I got my fitbit and became obsessed with my sleep data that I actually was able to determine that I am not getting the right amount of sleep. Before, I would tell you that I went to bed at 10 pm, it didn't take me very long to fall asleep and that I would wake at 5 am. What I couldn't tell you is how all those restless moments in the middle of the night - which I can actually track and see now - added up to rob me of about 2 hours of sleep every night.

Is this good information for me to have? I have no idea. Am I tempted to put the fitbit on my son's wrist for a night? Undoubtedly. 

Are you getting enough sleep these days? How sure are you? Tell me in the comments.

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