The Stay Awake Challenge: Week 1

Week One is about sleep. (You can read the entire challenge here.)

It seems kind of funny to be talking about sleep when you’re trying harder to stay awake. But think about it… isn’t it easier to be present, to enjoy being with the ones you love when you are well rested and not grouchy from lack of sleep? This is something I certainly need to be more intentional about. I used to be quite the early-to-bed-early-to-rise person. But then college happened. And then I married a guy who likes to stay up late and is a self-described very “un-morning person.” So over the years, I have gone from being a person who likes early bedtimes to one who stays up far too late. When I had a job (you know, the kind that actually pays money), this usually meant that I burned the candle at both ends, staying up late the night before and then getting up early to go to work and then trying to “catch up” on sleep on the weekends. Obviously, this was before I had children.

Oddly, having children did not cure me of my habit of staying up too late. I know it has that effect on many parents, but I have found through the years that I really cherish the time I have in the evenings after the kids go to bed — it’s time to work (clean, bake, write emails or pay bills), but also time to just relax (read, write, watch movies with Rusty, scrapbook). I’m usually having too much fun to go to bed early, so I stay up late and then get woken up at first light by my children who have yet to learn the art of sleeping in.

I like sleep and I need sleep, and I need to be better about making sure that I get really good sleep. And I know that one of the best ways to do this would be to go to bed earlier (duh!) because let’s face it — I’m probably not going to get to sleep in past 7 for a few more years at least. I would like to try to be in bed each night by 10:30 with lights out by 11:00. Looks like I already missed the mark tonight!

Here are a few photos related to sleep and bedtime routines:

sleep1Here are the older boys, all tucked in and ready for bed, each showing off the special things they sleep with each night. I usually put Benjamin to bed first — he takes his bottle and then goes to sleep on his own without any fuss. Then I read stories to the older boys, and after they brush their teeth, I tuck them in, turn out the light, and sing them a song. A favorite is “Sweet I Know,” which has become my lullaby song for them — it’s the song I sang over all three of them when they were babies and I was rocking them to sleep.

sleep2Alex and Stephen each choose a story, and I read to them before bed. Then we read a Bible story. We have amassed quite the collection of children’s Bibles and Bible story books through the years! Usually, we work our way through one and then choose a new one. My personal favorite is The Jesus Storybook Bible.

sleep3

One of my favorite ways to wind down once I get in bed is to read. Last year, I started using a Bible-reading plan on YouVersion, trying to read through the Bible in a year. I got very side-tracked with all our travels, our international move, and then just trying to adjust to life in a new country once again. So at the beginning of this year, I picked my plan back up and started trying to make Bible-reading a daily habit once again. I have found that I really enjoy reading at night just before I go to sleep! I am using The Message and reading the Bible chronologically. YouVersion offers all sorts of customization options for your reading plans, and it tracks your progress and sends little reminders to your phone and email, all features I love! I still find it a bit weird to be reading the Bible on my iPhone. It doesn’t feel very “authentic” for some reason — I guess I am old-fashioned that way. Oh, but it sure is convenient, so I’m trying to get over the weirdness!

Well, since it is already half an hour past my “go-to-sleep” time, I guess I’d better head to bed. Sweet dreams, everyone!

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