Early to Bed, Early to Rise {A Fresh Start}

A Fresh Start ~  from AmysFinerThings.com

Growing up, I remember stumbling down the stairs at 7am at my grandparents’ farm after spending the night, only to be greeted with laughter and, “The day’s half over!”  I suppose for dairy farmers who are feeding and milking cattle at 4am, the day really was half over.

I am not a dairy farmer. 

Ugh.  This whole early to bed, early to rise things haunts me.  I know beyond a shadow of doubt that I am more productive when I get up early.  I know how good it feels to have half of my to-do list crossed off by 9am.  I know I am more likely to get some quiet time in and focus my day if I do it first thing.  I know that being awake and dressed and ready for my school kids to get up (instead of waking up when they do) makes a smoother start for all of us.

I know these things.  I’ve lived these things.  Been there, done that.  (Inconsistently, at best.)  It works!

So why am I rolling out of bed at 7am with the kids?  Because I’m tired.  Why am I tired?  (Yes, I do have a baby and half of our children are loud, restless sleepers, but this is on ME.)  I’m tired because I go to bed too late. 

There.  I said it.  The lure of the mostly silent evening hours tempts me.  I thoroughly enjoy sitting at the computer catching up on social media in the quiet.  We have a few shows we like to watch without interruption.  Even the dishes are sometimes appealing when everyone else is asleep.  And I am Queen of the bubble bath, especially during the winter.  Soaking in one before bed relaxes me and helps me sleep.  (At least that’s what I tell myself when I slide in at 11pm.)

Excuses.  Excuses.  Excuses. 

It’s not a bad thing to stay up late.  I know it’s messing with my productivity, though, and I need every ounce of oomph I can muster from my mornings.  It would be different if I was getting a lot done late into the night, but I’m not.  I’m catching up on things that didn’t happen during the day, or I’m relaxing.  (Impressive, I know.)

How to make it happen?  Well, that will be different for all of us, of course, (Oh, you didn’t realize I’m taking you on the ride with me?!) but when I’m on my game, these things work:

  • Plan backwards.  If 10pm is bedtime, don’t be hanging out on the computer at 9:45 if you still need to take a bath.
  • Prioritize.  We know what we need to get done and we know what we want to get done.  Friends, it’s likely not all going to get done.  Pick and choose, especially from the wants.  The rest of the stuff?  Forgetaboutit.
  • Set a timer.  Hey, it works for the kids!  I know I lose track of time with the best of ’em.  Ten minutes on pinterest turned into 50?  Not with a timer.
  • Work like a crazy woman during the day.  There is nothing worse (for me) than to get the kids put to bed and realize all I didn’t get finished that still needs to be done.  Ugh!  My evenings are much shorter and more enjoyable when I’ve had a productive day.

Let me just make it clear:  I am not aspiring to get up with the cows at 4am in this season of life.  No way, no how.  I do know, though, that this ship would sail smoother if I could make myself get up at 6 every morning and have an hour to gear up before the day really gets started.  That is my goal.  I need my sleep, so in order to wake at 6, I need to be getting to bed by 10.  Doable?  Certainly.

Is your rise and shine time working for you?  How do you make it work?  Are you more productive in the morning or the evening?  Does something need to “give”?  Do tell!




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  1. Stephanie says:

    When my kids were littler I used to go to bed the same time as them twice a week and I was always amazed at how much more rested I felt the rest of the week. I’m not really a night owl but that really helped me

    And don’t underestimate your NEED to have some mindless downtime to relax. Your kids need for you to have that for yourself. So cut yourself some slack!!

  2. I don’t love getting out of bed. Especially when it’s dark out and cold. I like being up early, I just don’t like the GETTING up part. I totally agree with you about the whole productivity, Bible study time, etc. of being up early.

    I enjoy quiet time in the evenings too.

    I think we also need to not beat ourselves up or compare ourselves too much. What works for someone else might not work for us at all. And it’s also good to realize that sometimes a lot of the things that we think need to be done aren’t that important. It’s finding that balance…..

  3. I hate getting out of bed in the morning. But I hate it more if I don’t get a shower before the kids get up. Jon is gone before the kids are up (so his help is not available in the morning) and I have to be out the door with the four of them by 8:20 in order to get the older two to school on time (no buses) so getting up before they do is essential. Most days I wake up tired and think “tonight I will go to bed early.” And then tonight comes and I am still awake much later than I should be or want to be. Time just gets away from me. I am glad to know I am not alone on that one!
    Thanks for the tips on getting to bed earlier. I am going to plan backwards tonight. Maybe that will help.

    • Oh, geeez. I never even think about that since my kids simply walk to school. I’d be in big trouble if I had to have myself ready for the day by then. LOL

  4. I’ve been working on trying to change my night-owl ways for several weeks now, unfortunately, not very successfully. I, too, know that I’m more productive if I get up early enough for a leisurely start to my morning instead of having to hit the floor running. Hard to do, though, when you’re tired from the night before!

  5. I’m a serious night owl. I get so much done between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am. (Yes, you read that right.) And because my husband is the same way, it’s really hard to head to bed early. But come 8 am when my little guy wakes up (little sister wakes up around 8:30 or 9) sometimes I wish I had just said no to the work that “needed” to be done the night before. Now I’m off to take a nap. 🙂

  6. I don’t love getting up early, but i really love having 30-90 minutes to myself to read the Bible, pray, and get a jump on my day before the kids appear. It makes a HUGE difference if I can get this time in before the hectic day starts. I’m participating in the HelloMornings challenge this won’t and it’s really nice to have a group of women helping me to be accountable.

  7. Before my oldest went to high school, with swim team practice starting at 6 am., I struggled getting the kids up and ready for school. Once that started, I just gave up and started going to bed when the kids did. It worked for me, and made the mornings easier, Now, she is a Junior in college, and I still get up really early (the youngest won’t start 6 am practices for 2 years, but I’ll be ready!!!) and my mornings are a piece of cake. I sometimes miss staying up late, but the easy mornings make up for it. You can get so much done when it is quiet and peaceful.

  8. I hear ya! I need my early mornings but I love my later nights (later for me is 11ish). I find it’s super hard in the winter to roll out but gets easier in the spring/summer. I’m working on this too!!

  9. I’m a morning person. Even as a teen I don’t ever recall sleeping late {and in my mind sleeping late is like 9:30}. My morning routine is a little weird however. On Mondays and Fridays I have “free mornings” where I don’t usually wake up till 6:30. However, Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays I am up by 5:15 to go running with a couple of girlfriends. Then on Sundays I wake up be 6 to get everyone dressed and out the door for church.

    Because I naturally don’t mind waking up in the morning, I don’t really have too much issue with going to be at a decent time. My husband, however, is a night owl and so we have to balance our schedule out in order to find quality time in the evenings after the kids are in bed. And funny enough, to him, sleeping till 9:30 is NOT sleeping in, it’s what he would do every day if it was at all feasible. Which, with three kids who also tend to rise early, it is not. 😉

  10. I’m a night owl — have been all my life, working 3rd didn’t help. So I do housework and such but at night. For example it’s 6:00am here and will be going to bed in a couple hours. My laundry is almost done.

  11. I agree that there is value in the whole “early to bed, early to rise” adage… BUT, my husband is a night owl. Us going to bed at 10:30 or 11 is a compromise, because he would like to stay up later. I am a firm believer in husband and wife going to bed together (most of the time, obviously there are sometimes exceptions). So I’ve adjusted to not being able to get up as early as I’d like (the alarm clock goes off at 7:15). I used to get upset that he prefers to stay up late, but eventually I decided that having a few hours of uninterrupted QUIET with him was more important than having early morning time to myself.

    Anyway, all that to say, if your husband wants you to stay up until 11, I think it’s usually better to find a way to make that work. It isn’t worth the conflict just for the sake of an hour or two to yourself in the morning.

    • “I am a firm believer in husband and wife going to bed together” I think that is fabulous! Right now we’re in a “you stay up and rock the baby to sleep and I’ll go to bed” season… ready to be over that hump. 😉

  12. My sleep patterns are very much like a roller coaster. My DH works 24 hr shifts three to four times a week (he’s a firefighter)…so when he’s gone, I barely sleep (usually go to bed at 1am, toss/turn all night, get up at 7:30). We’ve been married 13 years, so that’s a lot of sleep loss….lol. I’m a 9-hours-a-night kinda gal. Thankfully, I’ve been able to work in some naps the past 6 months but something’s gotta give. My kids always wake me up in the a.m. and I’m tired of being a grumpy momma. 😉

  13. I thought for sure I would NEVER be a morning person. Well, apparently I was wrong. I just recently have turned a new leaf! Not completely. By no means. But it’s about PROGRESS not PERFECTION! Right?? 🙂 So, yes. My days are WAY better if I drag my ass out of bed early. Unfortunately I’ll be going to bed at 8:30pm. Which kind of sucks. All the best action on tv and fb is at night… but at least I can wake up at 6am and work out at the gym. My daughter is WAY happier if she isn’t racing and scrambling along side me at 8 am trying to get out of the house at nine. I guess what I’m rambling about is go to bed early! I was able to get up at 5am today! With no prob! And posted my latest blog post. All before I had to take the dog out!! Today was a success!!!

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