If you google “30 days to better sleep,” you’ll likely get the mix of advice I got when I looked into it. Here was my plan: go with the link that had a listing for every day through 30, and start day 1 on January 5, ticking things off and having a new article to inspiration and try something each day.
Here’s how the first full week toward Sleep Goals 2017 went. Online advice in bold, funny parts in regular text. Target 7.5-8 hrs’ sleep per night.
- Consistent wake-up time: As an overachiever, of course, I gave myself a head start loading things in on Thursday, when I set an official alarm on my phone of 6:15AM. Then, I got a head start on not following the advice: I refused to wake up at the same time on weekends. Pfft. What are weekends for?!
- Remove electronics from the bedroom: On Friday, I left the Roku tv bolted to the wall of the bedroom. I refuse to give up watching Vikings before bed, Ragnar’s my hero. I did return my phone to charge in the dining room, a previously formed habit that has to do with curtailing too much snoozing.*
- Get exercise at the right time: Monday night I went to capoeira class 7-8:30, plus travel time, which left me wired until at least 9:30 or 10. This is surely good advice, but I am too stubborn to follow it for now. Drinking chamomile tea somehow made it worse.
- Estimate your sleep needs, only sleep at the right time for you, pay off your sleep debt: wtf, internet?! The articles attached to these contradicted the first few days’ advice. Sleeping early, but only sleeping when you’re tired AND, sleeping without an alarm clock until you just wake up naturally -these all run counter to the previous efforts. I did my best with this inactionable mishmash and set a bedtime of 9:45 on my iPhone’s Bedtime option (it’s that icon next to the alarm clock settings).
- Avoid alcohol at bedtime: By Wednesday I was pretty sad about the advice I’d found and had wanted to stick with to give it a try. On the invitation of some good friends, we went out spontaneously to the local hockey pub for trivia night after dinner, so I didn’t get to bed until 11. Thursday, I decided to be nice to myself and slept in to recover. Good choice, but with obvious trade-offs in productivity.
- By Friday, my plans was a little off the rails. The universe’s plans to make jokes was back on track, though. I woke up to neck pain from tossing and turning, possibly from dreams contaminated from binge-watching the O.A. in bed. I am fairly certain O.A. does not stand for Office Assistant…
Today’s Trial Habit-Shift Rating:
Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 Looking back at a random snapshot from last Fall, I am actually already getting more sleep consistently than before. Shedding light on this data did make me feel more grateful for what I’ve got! Reading about sleep via online blog is entertaining until you accidentally click on all the sleep ads (which should’ve been the tipoff..)
- I feel more productive with more morning hours than evening.
- Stories of world conquest are my bedtime stories.
- Don’t trust everything you read online, kids..
- Travel to a time zone before yours, and leverage jet lag when you return, to try and reset your internal wakeup clock! I think I had a leg up from my trip to Minnesota over the holidays, two hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.
- I continue to be stubborn. 🙂
Likelihood of Repeat: 75% of these actions listed above. Tune in next week to see how week 2 goes, and what I did to nudge the needle toward 9:45pm, based on my friends’ advice!
Ideas & Thoughts from Friends:
- Shifting earlier and earlier by 10-15 minutes. Going to sleep earlier does not mean waking up earlier, you may wake up at the same time.
- Getting pregnant to fix sleep.
- Not actually needing 8 hours.
- Light exposure and dark exposure to impact circadian rhythm.
- Applying sleep-training tricks from raising small humans.
Special thanks to Mel, Cody, Kelly, Lisa & Susannah for their comments and ideas!
Also see: 2017 Goals: Sleep, Week Zero!
*Hint for teenagers who need to sleep in: if you just wait long enough, the alarm will just stop…