Experiments: Sleeping In

Over the last week, my wife and I chose to turn off the alarm clock and wake up when our bodies naturally woke up in the morning. Partly this was due to a more relaxed schedule for me at work, and also because we had some inconsistent evenings with later bedtimes. This unplanned “experiment” started out innocently at first, when we genuinely forget to turn on the alarm clock on Sunday night, but deliberately choose to keep it off for the rest of the week… because, why not?

Shifting Schedules

What surprised me initially was that we woke up at the same time as usual (sometime shortly after 6 AM) for the first few days, even without the alarm clock. I guess I expected to sleep longer, but it’s likely due to the fact my wife wakes up more easily than I do, and so I ended up getting started with the day when she woke up. However, as the week progressed, we ended up sleeping in just a little bit more each day. Today, it was after 7 AM when we finally rolled out of bed.

Less Sleep Overall

Additionally, sleeping without the alarm clock didn’t actually result in us getting more sleep. I’ve been averaging just under seven hours all week long, which is less than I’d like. I think part of the reason for this is that, in the evening, we tell ourselves we’ll be sleeping in the next morning, resulting in the choice to stay up later, doing random things that don’t necessarily contribute to better sleep (e.g. browsing on the internet or watching a movie). Later nights lead to less sleep, especially when I’m not sleeping in that much longer than usual.

Missed Spiritual Breakfast

Additionally, later mornings contribute to a more rushed approach to the day, along with gradually neglecting our regular time spent in Bible reading and prayer. I noticed this specific issue the most today after getting up in a hurry, heading out to work, and then only realizing I hadn’t spent time seeking God before starting out the day. I think this is the more problematic issue with rising late (at least for me and my wife), because once we start on the day, it’s harder to remember to fit in the quiet time for devotions.

So I think we’ll be going back to the alarm clock and a more regular (earlier) bedtime. Of course, that means I’ll also have to curb the unhealthy evening activities and gravitate to more that will be conducive to rest. But it’s worth it.