3/52 Changes – Sleep

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3/52 Changes – Sleep

From fretting over what order I should follow the chapters/suggestions, I’ve found it’s started to flow quite well – not always easily, but I’m still going and I’m still psyched up!

Starting with meditation is turning into a key enabler: there are so many times following a ‘programme’ like this starts to feel like adding to the daily harassments, and then I give up, but a few minutes of breathing calmly really does help. I’m still strugging with exercise, but again, a few moments and I can accept that five minutes isn’t going to kill me, while remembering how essential I see this habit to my life-quality in general. And absolutely that the aim is for the tiniest of habit-steps (five minutes!) and just one at a time (ahem).

So for week three’s new addition I just went with the feeling that “Get More Sleep” was calling to me! It’s actually chapter 26 of the book, but – especially since the Christmas break – I’d been aware of staying up too late doing useless things, and my all-too-familiar constant refrain of “I’m shattered!” as I grumbled blearily through a day. So, more (or just better) sleep? Yes please!

The chapter has several suggestions for getting more sleep. First is assessing how much you get now – a bit vague, methinks, as the recommended 8 hours isn’t always enough, especially if it’s – like mine – tending towards broken (there’s a whole other topic on non-sequential sleep hours, but not today). Nor am I impressed with the idea of taking naps: this can make it harder to sleep at night, even if you can fit such things into a working day! I’ve never found napping easy or useful, personally. And getting up earlier is an end result, not the start for me – and tends to happen as the mornings get lighter.

The better (for me) suggestions included using exercise – although not right before bed! – to ensure your body is tired out during the day. Well, we’ve started the exercise habit and while I can’t say it’s tiring me out yet, I’ll continue to work on that one!

But for this first stint at the habit experiment, I’m focusing on two steps:

Go to bed earlier — the Internet will be fine without you.

And:

Establish a bedtime ritual. It takes time to unwind the body and mind. At least an hour before bedtime, start slowing down… This kind of ritual helps establish in your mind that it’s time to sleep, and your body takes this cue and begins to prepare itself.

So for the past week I’ve been trying to do two things: first, and a long-standing “I know I should” is to get the pc off far earlier – at least by 9pm was my goal. I also tried to stop using my phone to play the odd game, or just check something later at night – making a ‘no screens’ space.

My ‘ritual’ then involves all the prep for bed (teeth brushing, etc), stretches, meditation – sneaking another habit in! – then writing and reading in bed. I know some advise against such things (in bed), but it works for me, not least because the bed is then nice and cosy when it’s time to snuggle down and turn off the light.

Best success of the week saw me not even turn the ‘pooter on after work. I ate, watched something on the tv, and found myself feeling tired and cold, so just went to snuggle under the duvet – even though it was only half eight! I had the most relaxed couple of hours scribbling and reading that I fell asleep easily and slept better than usual – ah, yup: I get it!! Okay, not the most practical of daily practices, but it was nice mid-week, and did indeed make me less grumpy, etc that during the day.

Conversely, I spoiled my own goals last night with the usual “It’s Friday so I ‘should’ stay up late ‘cos I can!”. I’ve spent most of today headachy and lethargic. Hah!

I remember reading a quote a while back about such things – I can’t recall who said it, but to paraphrase: “The worst thing that could happen if we got more sleep is that we become better human beings.” 🙂

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