I once lived a long time on 3 hours of sleep a night. In the long run, it hurt. I love to sleep and especially to dream but if I could take a pill and do away with sleeping, I’d be pill popping in a heartbeat. Over the years I have changed my habits from pulling alnighters and staying up until four in the morning to trying to consistently get to bed by 10pm. I know that if I get to sleep by 11:59pm that I sleep far better than if I go to sleep at 12:01am. If I get to sleep by 10pm, I can be up and productive at either 2am or 4am which makes for an astoundingly good day for me.
What really happens? I wander to bed at 10 or 10:30pm but lounge in bed chatting with my wife and watching television until midnightish. Between 2am and 2:30am, one of the dogs needs to be walked or rather she has formed the habit of going outside for a few minutes. I sit around for a few minutes and debating starting my day but acknowledge that on 2 hours of sleep my head is simply too fuzzy. I return to bed. At 4am, Evan wanders into our bed. I debate getting up but decide Evan will follow me so I conceded to another 30 minutes of sleeping. At 4:30am, I wake again and alter between cat naps and tossing and turning until between 5 and 5:30 at which time I finally get out of bed and try to get some work done before 6:15am. At 6:15am, Amy arises and I step away from the computer. If I spend time on the computer between 6:15 and 7am, she misses her bus. From 6:15 to 6:55, I make Amy’s lunch, chat with Amy, prompt Noah to brush his teeth, and then drive Amy to the bus stop. From 7:15 to 8:15am I try to get another hour’s work done but this is dependent upon whether or not Evan has awoken and whether or not Noah has missed his bus and needs a ride or Sarah needs a ride. Between 8:30 and 9am Monday through Friday, I am carpooling either Tommy or Evan to school. At 9:30 I am typically back at my desk trying to get work done. If I eat lunch, I take it at my desk. At 2pm, I will grab a 15-20 minute power nap and return to work by 2:30. At 5 or 5:30pm, I break to prepare dinner for the kids. This break typically extends to 7pm. I’m usually back on the computer no later than 8 and try to work until 10pm when the cycle begins again.
That is par for the course Monday through Friday. I try to avoid working on Saturday. I like to get up early on Sunday and try to work at least through lunch.
Update: A friend asked, "why doesn’t Cathy do the morning with the children?" There’s far more duties than what I’ve described with 5 children. She is not a morning person. We have no dishwasher so she hand washes the constantly barrage of dirty dishes our family produces. Our washer and dryer run 24/7 and she does all the folding (I’ve been forbidden from doing laundry…something about doing it wrong. Thank you Bill Cosby!). She handles all the school paperwork, homework, supplies, schedules and with 5 children in 5 schools there is plenty of that! She gets all the children’s clothing and backpacks laid out the night before so our mornings go smoothly. She also does the carpool pick-ups to balance my carpool drop-offs. She handles medical appointments, dentist, extracurricular activities, etc. The children also have their chores and areas of expectation. We are not the Duggars but we have a system that works for our tiny large family. I think we have a machine that runs pretty smooth but I certainly wouldn’t turn Mary Poppins away if she showed up on our doorstep.