If you read my last entry you know that I have been struggling with a crazy lack of sleep. (If you haven’t read it I suggest going back to read it so you can appreciate this entry even more). I have felt pushed to the edge, overtired and unmotivated. I’ve been edgy and saltier than soy sauce. No fun for anyone.
I decided I needed to do some much needed research into figuring out how to reset and start getting some epic sleep, and by epic I mean normal. I’d be elated with a normal night’s sleep!
At first I scourged the internet looking for articles and blogs on how to get the best night’s sleep. Some of the advice I found was great- use a sleep mask (check), get some blackout shades (check), take some magnesium before bed (check). Other bits of advice sounded like they would probably be helpful but they were rather inconvenient, like turning off all breakers to your bedroom before bed each night. I’m sure turning off EMF’s (electro-magnetic frequencies) is very helpful for sleep and overall health, I am just not at a place where I’m gonna go there. Instead I decided to charge my phone away from my bed, which makes me nervous because what if I have to call 911 in the middle of the night? As a trauma survivor I think of these things- intruders, middle of the night heart attacks, visits from crazy ghost vampires (those of you who have seen Salem’s Lot know what I’m talking about). I still check under my bed for monsters and serial killers every night and of course I lock my bedroom door, but still. You never know. On second thought screw it I need my phone nearby…
I also decided to pay attention to when I was going to bed and what I was doing at night that was detracting in any way from sleeping. My observations were enlightening:
First off, I realized if I stay up ‘til 11pm my second wind kicks in and then I have no interest in sleeping. I find myself back on the computer working or worse reading silly Yahoo news articles. I then go to bed after midnight but after washing off the war paint, brushing and flossing it would be 12:30 before I’d crawl in bed. Then of course I have to read for 20-30 minutes which puts me at 1am. Ok, no problem, right? I’ll just sleep in ‘til 9am. That’s 8 hours, right? For some reason I magically forget each night that I may have the maturity of a 25 year old but not the bladder of one! So of course I wake up at 6am to pee each morning and then just can’t get back to sleep. Ok, so sometimes if I put my sleep mask back on and try real hard I CAN fall back asleep but then I seem to have the most intense dreams that somehow have me running away from a giant pregnant penguin with fangs or fighting some weird demon like a Power Ranger and so I wake up at 9am completely exhausted.
Then, instead of having the energy and desire to run I cop out and lift a few weights, do some crunches and call it good. I don’t use caffeine and so I feel the tired more than most would, even though I eat B12 (and many other supplements) like candy and choke down the breakfast of champions- the almighty protein shake. Mmmm…SOOO tasty.
Now, keep in mind, this doesn’t happen every night. Many nights I do have the will to force myself into bed. Sometimes I’ll even crawl in bed and eat my dinner there whilst reading or watching YouTube videos. Then it’s no problem to be asleep by 10:30, which I have determined is the perfect bedtime. I read that your body dumps most of its toxins between the hours of 11pm-7am and trust me; I need to get rid of toxins. Even though I eat pretty well there’s manicures, pedicures, hair color, lotions, potions, champagne and more. (The average woman is more akin to a chemical waste dump then we would like to admit!)
Still, the staying up late thing happens more than I would like it to. I had to analyze that too, because that’s what I do. I realized why I stay up late- it was a no-brainer. I’m betting you can relate to this one: I stay up late because I work hard all day and my inner child is seriously repressed. Like, really repressed. This was a stark realization because I always thought I did a pretty good job of indulging my inner child. I have lots of interests and hobbies. I never pass up an opportunity to act silly. I try to do something fun every weekend. So what’s my problem?
It didn’t take long to figure out. I get home from work too late. Ugh. It’s true. Most nights I don’t get in until after 8pm. I eat dinner at 9pm, which is way too late by the way, which is why I often have another dreaded protein shake, since I’m afraid to consume too many calories so late at night. If I eat a real dinner I feel guilty the entire time, since I know those calories are all going straight to my waistline :-/ So dinner becomes a dreaded activity. By the time I do a few things around the house, check the mail, play with my bird, it’s 10pm. No time left for me, and certainly none left for my inner child. And did I mention she’s rather demanding? (both my inner child and the bird) Petulant children, indeed!
Ok, so this is more complicated than I thought. This whole time I thought this was about my lack of sleep. It’s not about the sleep. It’s never about the sleep. We always have to dig deeper.
Here’s the good news: I’m closing my practice for good in two weeks, so no more late nights. It seems surreal since this is what I have done for most of my adult life. I will miss it like crazy! But it’s time to move on. I get to try my hand at being a writer full time. It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was 9 years old. My inner child is jumping up and down as I type this! So things will change drastically. It will be fascinating to see if my bedtime routine becomes easier, or if I’m using this whole working late business as an excuse to not get my act together.
It’s a great question. In the meantime I still need a plan. I want to be rested and I want to feel like a million bucks.
My plan: I thought this would be a highly complicated sleep plan with algorithms and magic spells, but it really is quite simple: no matter what time I get home at night I need to be in bed by 10pm and asleep by 10:30. No excuses. I will have to look for other ways to indulge my inner child. It shouldn’t be hard- she likes lots of things.
Update: Last night was a fail. I got into bed at 11:30 and was then wide awake. I missed bedtime and the adrenaline kicked in. I tossed and turned for an hour. It was raining and I was cold. I plugged in the heating pad and that helped. The good news is I slept in ‘til 7am. Yay! Not 8 hours but I did pretty well. I was able to run 2 miles. I got some stuff done.
I DID have to devise a fun plan for the week. My inner child insisted she isn’t going to bed on time without one. Here’s my plan- it’s pretty good.
Monday- day of writing (which IS fun for nerds like me)
Tuesday- work, mani and dinner with a friend
Wednesday- work and maybe tennis at night
Thursday- girls’ night!
Friday- dinner with a friend
Saturday- Botanic gardens, movie saturday night
Sunday- sleep in! LOUNGE and watch old Doris Day movies. Take a walk.
Here comes the hard part: I have to stick to this fun plan AND stick to my bedtime. I’m going to need all the encouragement and support I can get! Please share with me your bedtime strategies. I’m going to keep track all week and tally my results. I can do this!!