I Went Back to Bed

Posted | 12 comments

I Went Back to Bed

On Friday I did something radical. I went back to bed.

Two weeks of vacation in a different time zone, two red-eye flights, and two weeks of getting less than four hours of sleep, finally caught up with me. When the alarm went off at 5:30 AM, I got up and made sure the kids were up, but it was clear from those first bleary-eyed moments that it was not going to be a fun morning or an easy day. I’m a morning person and normally wake up in fifth gear: happy, chatty, and ready to go. So this feeling of total and complete EXHAUSTION is not what I’m use to, even in the pre-dawn hours.

I laid in bed instead of making breakfast and snapped anytime anyone dared to interact with me. I assure you that the last statement is candy-coated. It was so bad that my son actually made his sister breakfast without being asked and the dogs and cat, who normally shadow me around the house, disappeared. I dropped the kids off at school after what was a quiet and tense drive and on the way home fought off tears as I thought about everything I had to do that day.

Then the thought hit me. What would I do if a friend called me up and told me that she was exhausted? What would I tell her after she explained to me that she wasn’t getting any sleep and just couldn’t function? What would I say? What advice would I give?

It was a quick and easy answer. I’d tell her to go back to bed. I would tell her that the stuff could wait. I’d insist that her health and well-being were most important. I’d remind her that she’d be a better mother/daughter/wife/worker if she allowed herself to get the rest she needed. I’d suggest ways she could carve out some extra time for rest.

So, why don’t I do this for myself?

It’s crazy. We can be so loving and kind to our family and our friends but so unkind to ourselves.

So, I rescheduled my morning meeting for another day. There were no consequences. I drove home. I crawled back into bed. I slept for two and a half more hours. I’d like to say that I woke up refreshed and ready to face the day, but I was still tired. I met a friend for lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening attending to items that didn’t require me to be at my best. I got stuff done.

I’m still not back to getting the sleep I need. I’m still tired. I’m still struggling to fall asleep and stay that way. It’ll get better. It always does.

One of my focuses this year is to be nicer to and take better care of myself. On Friday, I pushed aside expectations, I risked disappointment, and I cut myself some slack. All I had to do was go back to bed.


  1. Good for you, Denise. There is a powerful lesson for all of us here. As you know, I am reading “Crazy Sexy Diet” and the author suggests finding a picture of your five-year old self, posting it prominently, and asking ourselves how we would take care of that child. We would make sure that she got enough rest, ate properly, engaged in some physical activity, had time to play, etc. I think that is excellent advice. Hugs!

    • That’s a good idea, Pam. I do think about the little girl I was quite often. Excavating her has been a big part of my past year. Being nice to her is one of my focuses for this year. I might have to get a copy of that book. Sounds like it’s about a lot more then just eating healthy.

    • I tend to get to bed around 11 on woignrkhts, later though if I’m working on something or on the weekends. For work, I get up anywhere between 7-7:30. Weekends, I get up by 9, usually 🙂

  2. I have the same sleep thing and there are times when it all catches up and I’ve been known to sleep an entire day away – I don’t win popularity contests but I feel so much better. Well-meaning folks have told me, “You can’t catch up on lost sleep!” In my words, my doctor said that is abstract BS – that when your body is shutting down its trying to tell you to go to sleep and get rest – gaining or losing has nothing to do with it! So you’ve got my vote! Don’t set the alarm! Thanks. RR

    • Randy- I’ve always heard that it’s best to go to bed and get up at the same times, so I try to do that. I do agree with your doctor, sometimes if we DO just need to catch up. Here’s to hoping we both get the rest we need. – D

      • I do that – during the work week I go to bed at 12:30 and get up at 4:30 – thats if I go to bed early! I’ve actually been doing a little better – around 11:30 – any earlier than that and I stare at the back of my eyelids or the ceiling! I have medical intervention but that leaves me a little groggy – so I end up sleeping late a day of the weekend instead. But I’m working on it! Thanks. RR

  3. Denise, you have done what each of us as women struggles, no, fights to do. Forgive me for saying it but I’m proud of you. Do it any time you need to. Do what you need to any time you need to. Forget what convention or society has to say. Go girl! Go, right on back to bed. – Lindy

  4. Lindy – It is a struggle and a fight and it doesn’t end with sleep. We just have to step out and do what’s best for us. I know you’re stepping out with me. – D

  5. Trying to be what everyone else wants while neglecting the Me I’m supposed to be or need to be is a common error us women make. Taking time for self shouldn’t be something that induces feelings of guilt. Listen to your body and enjoy reconnecting with yourself. You are soooo on the right track.

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  8. Hello! Just want to say thank you for this interesting article! =) Peace, Joy.


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