With Owls and Roosters who can get any sleep?

There are many challenges when you have drivers licenses to diapers in children.  However, I think one of the most challenging is the sleep differences.  Did you know that puberty changes an adolescent’s internal clock?  Due to puberty, teenagers are hormonally wired to stay up late and sleep late in the morning.  Most teenagers need nine hours of sleep for their bodies to grow and for them to function at their full potential.  Small children on the other hand, are hormonally wired to fall asleep between 8:00 and 9:00 PM.  They need between 10 and 13 hours of sleep, depending on their age.

My older three kids, after the first three months of life, settled into really good sleep patterns.  Now that they are teens and a tween, they have fallen into the typical teenage sleep pattern, and have become owls.  Can’t fall asleep until after 11:00 PM or later, and want to sleep until 10:00 AM or later.  One positive thing about homeschooling is that teens can adjust their schedule to accommodate this new internal clock change.

My youngest two children, while they require 10 – 13 hours of sleep, fight going to sleep at all cost, are very light sleepers, and both think that they are roosters!  Therefore, they don’t usually get all the sleep that they need and are often cranky.  As am I!

I tend to be like the older kids, I am a night owl.  I get bursts of energy after 10:00 PM and do my best work until the wee hours of the morning, IF I’m allowed to sleep in the next day.  My problem lies in that often I’m exhausted, because I stay up like the owls, and don’t sleep in the next day; I get up at the crack of dawn with the roosters!

I adore my children, and 98.9% of the time I can’t imagine spending my days with anyone else except maybe The Director.  However, by 8:00 at night I am kidded out!  I need some time alone, with The Director, and a little down time, to myself, to re-fuel for the next day.  I NEED everyone in bed!  The older kids don’t have to go to sleep but I NEED them in their rooms, so I can have a bit of quiet time.  Often that doesn’t happen, the little ones find some excuse to be out of bed.  Even if they aren’t out of their room, they are still up in there and they are noisy.  We don’t have a huge house, so even if the older kids are trying to avoid me eventually I will see or hear them in the evening.  And, not that this is a bad thing it’s just nice to have time that is completely quiet so I can pray, meditate, think, whatever.  So, I often stay up later than everyone else to get that time. 

Dawn comes pretty fast when you go to bed between 1:00 and 2:00 AM.  The roosters arise, usually The Little Man before The Informer.  The roosters are not content to crawl back in bed with me and watch a movie or go back to sleep.  Amazingly, these roosters want food!  Who can possibly eat that early in the morning!  Doesn’t the digestive track have to go though some sort of wake-up process for at least a couple of hours?!  And, then The Little Man insists on watching Mickey Mouse Club House (what in the heck would he do without On-Demand TV?!).  The Little Man is not a quiet child, he will either scream to get his way or he will scream because he didn’t get it.  Either way he usually wakes up the rest of the house, and everyone, owls and roosters alike, are in a sleep deprived, zombie like stupor.

What is the answer to this problem?  I don’t have one!  I have tired keeping the roosters up with the owls in hopes that they too will sleep in.  But, in the end roosters are roosters at least until they go through puberty and become owls.  Regardless of the time they go to bed the roosters still get up with the sun, even with a dark room!  We blackened their window once.  (The Informer couldn’t understand why the sun had come up in the rest of the house and not their room.)  They both still got up at the crack of dawn!

The owls try as they might, can not fall asleep as early as the roosters.  So I guess for now, I need to learn to go to bed early and forget any quiet time or spend the next eight years in a zombie like stupor.  Of course The Director always votes for going to bed early, as he doesn’t think ANY of us gets enough sleep!

I need a nap!


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