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.