2:50am is the new 4:10am

I remember when my natural morning alarm started shifting closer to 4am instead of 5am, and I actually didn’t mind it too much. I really love my mornings. It’s quiet, I get a lot done, I have my coffee and my day is new and fresh and I haven’t screwed anything up yet. So, getting it started closer to 4am instead of 5am really didn’t have too much of a “down” side. I still felt like 4am was still “morning” so it wasn’t too ridiculous to be up yet.

But for the last few months my natural morning alarm is shifting closer and closer to 3am. Several mornings in the last few weeks I’ve woken up naturally BEFORE 3am. Now, I try to fight it off because that is NOT “morning” to me anymore. That is “night” and I need to try to go back to sleep. But I’m learning more and more often that there is really NO point. I woke up this morning and looked at my watch at it said 2:50am. I sat in bed and tried to go back to sleep for about 10-15 minutes and then just gave up. Lately I can toss and turn for an hour and then get up closer to 4am, but what good does that do? That tossing and turning is basically one solid wasted hour in my day, so I gave it 10 minutes this morning and then I just got up.

Luckily, going to sleep is rarely a problem. I have some nights where I struggle, but most of the time my arsenal of tricks that I use to get myself to sleep yields success on those nights and I rarely lay awake unintentionally for longer than 30 minutes. Last night Wes woke me up with foot cramps and I thought FOR SURE it was the middle of the night because I had been dead asleep. But when I looked at my watch I realized I had only been in bed for 45 minutes. I must have fallen asleep IMMEDIATELY to have been that zonked when he woke me up.

So, at least I have THAT going for me with these lovely 2:50am wake-up times. I know I can go to sleep when I choose tonight.

My biggest concern is that I’m starting to see signs of my own deterioration lately. I spent a good chunk of yesterday afternoon fighting off tears over a stressful parent/teacher conference (Evidently Nikki has anxiety attacks at school about “bad” grades because “her Mom is going to be so mad at her!”) and then a rough afternoon with Wesley where he went from “I don’t care about you!” to “Momma I love you with all of my heart!” in a matter of 30 minutes. And then there’s the fact that E works several jobs while in school and trying to keep a social life and he’s still struggling to make ends meet and I just wish I could help him financially more and I feel AWFUL that I can’t. And then there’s the ticking bomb that is now our house because we have OFFICIALLY signed a contract with a realtor and my “To Do” list is so long I seriously start to hyperventilate when I look at it. So, yeah, I was on the verge of tears all afternoon yesterday and OF COURSE when I’m at my most stressed all I want is to talk to my Dad which takes all of my volatile emotions and amplifies them infinitely and I just become one giant basket of HOT MESS.

And I look at my sleep and think: My lack of sleep could be making my stress level so much worse. And then I look at my stress and think: My stress could be waht’s waking me up at 2:50am.

Which came first? The stress or the insomnia? A question for the ages.

But I still like my mornings. My days feel fresh and I think Okay. I will try NOT to screw anything up today. I also have made a few Big Fat Friend errors lately where I think maybe I’ve damaged a few relationships (nothing terrible, just wounded) and that kind of stuff haunts me for YEARS. I still stress over some bigger mistakes in friendships I made 15 years ago. But during my mornings? It’s quiet and I choose to think about the POTENTIAL of the day instead of the FAILURE of the ones before. At least for a little while. So while I’m certain the 2:50am wake-up time is not ideal for my emotional well-being, there’s a small part of me that enjoys the extra quiet hour in the morning before the world starts moving around me.

Edited to Add: Guys. It’s literally 4:02am and I’ve already made one giant screw up for the day trying to be “cute” and failing MISERABLY and being completely insulting instead. That’s a record for me to do something offensive this early. Maybe mornings are not my best time of day? And on a related note: I’m going to not allow myself to do anything on social media without at LEAST two full cups of coffee when my “humor” meter is working better.

4 Comments

  • Mary

    I get up at 5 AM on the days I work and 5:30 AM on the days I am off (so I can be at the gym by 6 AM), which has worked well for me. But lately I have also been waking up earlier and earlier, and it is not doing my body much good. I feel tired ALL THE TIME, which I am not used to. And I agree that tossing and turning for a while is such a waste of time! I hope you get some relief soon!

  • Shannon

    Kim, I don’t know if it much matters which came first. It’s really a vicious no sleep/stress cycle that can snowball out of control. Also, lack of sleep can lead to psychosis. You may want to look into a “happy light.” This may be especially helpful around this time of year when the daylight is changing rapidly…this def can affect your sleep pattern.

  • Jenn

    I have this problem sometimes too. So I guess I won’t bring up the fact that daylight savings time is almost over? And then 2:50 becomes 1:50?

  • Trisha

    I know you have struggled for a long time with anxiety and stress issues. I know you work on these issues daily. I’m not sure what your position is on depression and anxiety, but I have to ask, have you considered talking to your doctor about medication? I don’t think it’s a first defense by any means, but I see a lot of my own symptoms/cycles in what you write. I struggled with this issue a lot, and finally broke down and talked with my doctor about it. When I am coming off the rails, crying, sad, angry, and not sleeping, I know those are warning signs for me. I don’t take meds constantly, usually 6-9 months at a time when things get really off kilter. I am then able to get a grip on all of the issues that are making me anxious, and can put coping strategies into place without the chemical imbalances in my brain making it seem impossible to deal with. Once I have broken the cycle, my family and I are all so much more peaceful, I always end up wondering why I waited so long to ask for help. Anyway, I just wanted to remind you that there may be an option, and if you choose to explore that route, you aren’t alone.