Monday, February 27, 2012

The Verdict for February

Sure, it's not quite the end of the month, but I'm calling it close enough. My goal for the month was to focus on my sleep habits and try to improve the quality and quantity of my nightly sleep.

The verdict is guarded. I do not seem to be able to sleep for more than 6 or so hours at a time. I am awakened by noises, or needing to use the bathroom. It is sometimes hard to fall asleep at first, and it is very difficult to stay asleep for a whole night's sleep, regardless of the consistency with which I stick to a bed time routine. (Includes not drinking water in the evening, exercising almost daily, eating well, getting into bed by 10, not napping, using white noise machine, etc)

My mother has lent me a book that she said helped her meditate to the point of falling asleep. I will be reading it and seeing if anything in there is helpful. I think my biggest resistance is that I don't feel like I should HAVE to take heroic measures in order to SLEEP. I'm not stressed, other than being TIRED, I am not ruminating over things that are bothering me, I am just AWAKE and it is incredibly annoying.

I think it's also true that my body naturally wants to sleep at times that are very different from the time frame that is available to me. Unfortunately, nothing can be done about that.

Final verdict: I will continue to practice the good habits I put into place this month, and sincerely hope that my body will take it all under advisement. I'll also see if meditating will help at all.

Stay tuned for March's goal... it's a big one!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Elusive Sleep

It's been a week, and I have been in bed at 10 PM or earlier every night, including the weekends. However, even when I drop off to sleep right away (which always the case), I never EVER stay asleep all night. Not even once. I wake up to use the bathroom, and about 50% of the time, I stay awake for 2-3 hours. So, it seems that if I go to bed at 11 or 12, I have a chance of staying asleep all night, since I can make it 6 hours without peeing, evidently. OR, I can go to bed earlier, and be guaranteed to have to wake up, and STILL only get 6 hours of sleep.

And yes, I am limiting liquid intake - nothing to drink after dinner.

I am not lying awake worrying about anything; not even worrying about not being asleep. Just. Lying. There.

I'm not giving up yet, though... it's only been a week, and who knows... maybe it takes longer than a week for a person to adjust to an earlier bed time? A girl can hope.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

The Power of Suggestion

So, I mentioned yesterday that I would be reminding myself before I went to bed that I needed to GET UP and use the bathroom if I woke up feeling the urge.

Last night, I got into bed at 10, and before I turned off the light, I consciously reminded myself of this... and it totally worked! I actually had to get up twice, and both times I hopped right up.

The power of suggestion: it can work!

Of course, I still feel lousy today, but I guess it's only been a couple of nights in a row of going to bed early. We'll see.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

2 of 12 in 2012

It is February First, which means it's time for goal #2! I have been struggling with what to pursue as my goal, but have decided upon tackling.....

SLEEP PROBLEMS.

I don't know about you, but I basically wake up feeling like total crap each and every morning. It doesn't actually seem to matter how many hours of sleep I get, but I suppose I feel like a BIGGER pile of crap on mornings after fewer hours of sleep. I rarely get 8 hours of sleep in a night, and they are never uninterrupted. And even when I get 8-12 hours of sleep in a night, I STILL feel horrible. Every. Single. Day.

I will also point out here that I deleted "shit" and added in "crap", but couldn't manage to keep it totally out of this post. I feel very strongly about how lousy I feel in the morning!

Anyway, I see the sleep problem like this:

*I am more of a night owl. If I could, I would go to sleep at midnight and wake up around 9. As a matter of fact, over the summer when I am not working, this is the pattern I seem to fall into. However, I need to be at work by 7:30, so clearly my natural pattern must be disobeyed if I am to keep my job.

*I am a light sleeper. Noises, even my own snoring when I have a cold, wake me up. Bad dreams wake me up. Needing to use the bathroom wakes me up.

*I wake up almost every night because I need to pee, but I don't always wake up enough to actually get up and GO. This means that I'm half awake, I still have to pee, can't figure out that I should probably just get up and take care of it, and can't fall back asleep. I think this problem arose because sometimes when I get up to pee, I can't fall back asleep, so I'm unconsciously afraid to get out of bed, for fear of tossing and turning for the rest of the night. Which I'm doing anyway.

*I'd rather stay up later, and 10pm doesn't feel like a good bed time for me.

*I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back asleep for HOURS.

*I am so tired when I get home from work, that I sometimes (not always) take a nap, which makes it even harder to fall asleep at night.

So, here's my plan. I don't think each of the above problems is solvable, but I'm hoping I can at least increase the hours of sleep I'm getting every night.

1. All electronics with a glowy screen get turned off at 10. This includes weekends unless I am out socializing with friends.

2. Caffeine is only to be consumed prior to noon. (I already do this, so it should be no problem)

3. In bed by 10:30. (Although with electronics turned off, I assume I'll get into bed right at 10!)

4. Try to limit liquid intake in the evening. This one is going to be tough, though, because I exercise in the evenings and get thirsty!

5. Remind myself before going to bed that I have to get up if I feel the need to use the bathroom.

6. If sticking to the bed time routine is not helping, I will begin working with a book my Mom gave me about meditation.

7. Keep a sleep log to track my progress.

8. NO NAPS. This one is going to be tough.

9. At the end of the month, analyze the results and see whether it's worth continuing with this goal.

One of my fears is that even if I'm getting more sleep on a regular basis, I'll still feel like crap every morning. I mean, I feel that way now even when I get, say, 12 hours of sleep, so why in the world would I think it would be any different otherwise? However, I at least need to give it a shot.