I’m back at work today after a two week break. In my previous post I referred to the fact that, when left to my own devices, I tend to go to sleep later and later every night and wake up later and later every day. During the last two weeks, my tendency was to go to sleep around 6 or 7 am and wake up at 2 or 3 pm.

I intended to correct my sleep cycle before returning to work, but like most things I intend to do, I put it off until the last minute. Last night I went to sleep at 1 am and woke up at 9 am for work. This is approximately my normal sleep cycle. Surprisingly, this sudden drastic change resulted in the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long time.

What constitutes a good night’s sleep, you ask? Well, it’s a good thing you asked that, because I’m dying to tell you. I hate it when I fall asleep before my head hits the pillow and I wake up eight hours later without realizing any time has passed. Technically, I may have had a perfectly restful slumber, but I always feel cheated. When I’m sleeping, I want to know that I’m sleeping. I want to revel in the fact that I am unconscious and free, at least until morning, of responsibilities.

So my ideal night’s sleep goes something like this: First, the room must be slightly chilly. About 65 degrees Fahrenheit. There must be a slight breeze and some white noise, for which a small fan will suffice. The room should be as dark as possible except for the dim glow of a few blue LEDs, which are always cool no matter what. I snuggle up under a big heavy comforter on a firm mattress with a pillow that’s not too soft but not too squishy. I lie on my back for a few minutes. Then I lie on my right side for a few more minutes. Finally, I lie on my left side for a few minutes. I fall asleep. Three times during the night, at evenly-spaced intervals, I gently awaken, drink a few sips of water from the bottle by my bed, and go back to sleep. In the morning, I transition smoothly into consciousness fifteen minutes before my alarm is set to go off. I stretch, pop my back, and make myself comfortable, but remain just barely conscious. The alarm goes off. I hit snooze. This happens three more times. Finally, I switch off the alarm and crawl happily out of bed, satisfied that I’ve had a restful night’s sleep.

Last night was just such a night. I wish I knew how to achieve this reliably. It’d make mornings so much happier.