Last night, for the first time in years, I woke up rested before my alarm went off. It didn’t hurt that I’d set the alarm to allow 9 hours of sleep, but a week ago I would have slept the full time.

I’ve been concentrating on getting enough sleep for only 5 days. This week my average number of hours of sleep is 8.5 while I’ve had many weeks in the past averaging under 7.

The biggest difference that I’ve noticed is that I feel sleepy more often. I don’t know if I forgot what sleepy felt like or whether getting a small number of hours of sleep puts your body into a fight-or-flight mode that doesn’t let sleepy through or ignores your circadian rhythm. But after getting a few days of good sleep I could feel bedtime approaching in a way I didn’t before.

It could also be that I’ve changed some habits. I’m trying to pace myself on work and not stare at my computer screen late into the evening. I’m limiting TV time and spending the last 30 minutes of my night on the couch under a blanket and reading.

I’ve also given myself permission to be tired and to sleep, which may be the biggest factor in the way I feel. As I wrote a few days ago, I’ve acknowledged that winter is the time for rest and internal growth so instead of fighting the early-setting sun’s effect I’m embracing it.