New Month, New Habits

This is the month I try to fix my sleeping habits.

I sleep fairly soundly, but it takes me what seems like an absurdly long time to get to sleep every night.  An hour or two, most nights.  I believe I need eight or a bit more hours of sleep to feel well-rested.  So going to bed at 11:00 and getting up at 7:00 doesn’t actually work, because I’m only sleeping something like six and a half hours in that time.

I thought for a while this was due to my bed, a six-year-old futon, and after a few months of deliberation, finally bought a new mattress in the winter.  This did help with the quality of sleep, but quantity not so much. I also had a problem in Lent, when I was missing some essential nutrient in my diet as a result of not eating meat (whatever it was, either iron or copper I think, disappeared as soon as I started eating more than fish).  That left me feeling exhausted during the day, something I’d never experienced before.

The end of term was busy, and since then I have been trying to let myself catch up by sleeping in.  This, unfortunately, seems to have meant that my sleep cycle reset itself rather later than I want.  I don’t do good work in the evening, and prefer to do everything I can in the morning — work, exercise, creative writing, all are better first thing.  Walking, cooking, reading, studying Latin, watching movies, needlepoint, all that is better later on.  Getting up at 10:00 or 10:30 throws off my day entirely.

So yesterday, when I was fossicking around the books at Value Village, I found one called No More Sleepless Nights by a battery of well-initialed persons, and decided — having read much of it last night — that my particular mild form of insomnia appears partly to do with my sleep cycle being off-kilter, with bad conditioning for falling asleep in my bed, and possibly diet and exercise.  My diet is improving — and I’m determined to work on the other parts, too.

Resetting the sleep cycle appears to require being very disciplined about what time you get up, following a set hour with as much exposure to bright daylight as possible.  I am, fortunately, starting on this in June, so when I got up at 6:15 this morning it was sunny out.

Following my determination — easy enough the first day — I decided to add in exercise as well.  I went out and skipped rope a bit, nowhere near the hundred times I’m aiming at with the list (and certainly not consecutively — but I haven’t really skipped since I was about twelve, and I wasn’t brilliant at it then, either), then did a gentle run around the neighbourhood.  Just fifteen minutes, alternating running for half a block with walking half a block, but I plan on gradually increasing time and distance run.  Just getting out there was a a triumph.  Getting out there on Monday — well, that will be a success.

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4 thoughts on “New Month, New Habits

  1. I have tonnes of admiration for anyone who can get up and exercise in the morning. I have the same problem falling asleep at night – I usually turn my light off at 10pm after reading, and then lie awake till 11pm at least, before having to get up at 6am. Not very conducive to early-morning anything, much less strenuous activity!

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