Tag Archives: Fitbit

How do you get enough sleep, but not enough sleep?

Wellness Wednesday:
Week 3 Sleep Goals Recap

Well folks, I can officially declare success. Last week I hit the 8 hour target average time for sleep. Hooray.

Data Points (according to Fitbit data):

Consistent wake up times persist.

All 2016 Average: 7 hr
Pre-experiment Week 0: 7h12min (while on vacation, i.e. includes random gluts of sleeping in)
Week 1 (1/8-1/14): 7h 23min, asleep starts ranging from 10:21 to 11:46pm
Week 2 (1/15 – 1/20): 7h 50 min, asleep starts ranging from 8:51 to 11:59pm, mostly in the 10:20 area
Week 3 (1/21 – 1/27): 8h 7 min! Asleep starts ranging 9:54 to 10:55pm, mostly around 10:30.

Observation 1: Sadly, if you compare this last full week to the week 2, there are also more little pink lines, which show when I fully woke up, around 2 or 4 in the morning, and then went back to sleep. It’s exhausting! This is how you get enough sleep, but not enough.

Week 3 Win: target met! Challenge: mid-sleep wake-ups?!

I started reading this book, Dreamland, by David K. Randall.

There’s a description in there about how we used to have two sleeps. First and second sleep, waking up in the middle of the night.

Is this the second sleep?

Is this what happens when you are recovering from a cold and weird back pain recovery at the same time, and also experiencing heightened worry-nightmares about having your healthcare coverage taken away and green-card-holding relatives ejected from the country?

I didn’t have this problem before I started this project, so it’s a bit perturbing to discover it this week. That’s what the little book excerpt in week 2 sleep goal recap is about.

Observation 2: K___ and I compared our Fitbit data and found we were chalking about the same amounts of sleep, even though I go to bed later than him, and he gets up before me most mornings. Aha! When he was sick, I went to sleep earlier and when I was sick, so did he.

Observation 3: it’s 10:44pm and I’m posting this…so, that’s also how you don’t get enough sleep, you like yourself get carried away completing something.


  • Your partner’s habits matter (people or pets).
  • The mystery of the mid-sleep wake-up continues,
  • as does a gradual movement of bed times (which is fighting with being extra wired after capoeira workout fixed at 7-8:30pm), but I’m done blogging about it for now.
  • Sleep training children may be harder in other ways, but easier in that it’s an external force getting you (the kid) to sleep.
  • I can probably continue this progression, and the gains in hours should help the rest come along.

If I were to design a multi-week plan, I would try:

Week 1: Better your sleep environment, and sit down and make a pact with any co-sleepers, furry or human. Looking at eating and exercise schedules, and hours of daylight absorbed. Observe how you feel with different sleep times, and set ultimate bed time goals, divide difference in fours and add those in per phase. See: Huffington Post on 37 Science-Backed Tips for Better Sleep.

Week 2: start shifting bedtime, phase 1 + same wake time

Week 3: start shifting bedtime, phase 2 + same wake time

Week 4: shifting bedtime, phase 3

-Recover sleep on weekends as needed.

-Keep track of the quality of sleep too.

Thanks for bearing with me while I experiment with other content on this blog!

How are your 2017 goals going?


Multi-month look: gradual cyclical improvement.

Also see:

Week 0 : 2017 Goals

Week 1: Sleep Goals Recap

Week 2: Sleep Goals Recap – The Problem with Competing with Yourself

*I am not endorsing that you read Dreamland, still in the middle of it. In fact, time will tell if I’d be better off having read Edgar Allan Poe’s “Dream-land” instead. I may just go fish out my Wide Awake at 3AM book, of which there somehow ended up being two copies in my parents house. That’s how much we liked that book, apparently.
**Thomas Edison: famous for sleeping only 4 hours a night. However, also had a cot in his workshop for naps -thanks to Jennifer for alerting me to that tidbit via postcard!

The problem with competing against yourself..

Wellness Wednesday:

Week 2 Recap of Sleep Goals

First, let’s make that previous target more specific:* average 8 hrs’ sleep

Second, methods:

  • Getting off my phone a bit beforehand, switching to reading a book or staring blankly at the roku tv.
  • Rescheduled watching Vikings to dinnertime.
  • Start reading a book on sleep for more ideas based on the science behind it (see text excerpt standing in for this week’s feature photo).
  • Covered the little green lights that blare from my Fitbit and jar me awake occasionally. This worked for one night’s sleep and then I couldn’t bear to part with the data it collects via heart rate to tell if I’m asleep.
  • STill in process: change iPhone bedtime to 10:15pm, then 10, then 9:45 (gradually over 6 days) to see when it tells me to start going to sleep. Maybe it’s been telling me too early.
  • Getting some sun

Data Points (according to Fitbit data):

The secret to sleep is getting sick and needing more sleep. :p

All 2016 Average: 7 hr

Pre-experiment Week 0: 7h12min (while on vacation, i.e. includes random gluts of sleeping in)

Week 1 (1/8-1/14): 7h 23min,  asleep starts ranging from 10:21 to 11:46pm

Week 2 (1/15 – 1/20): 7h 50 min, asleep starts ranging from 8:51 to 11:59pm, mostly in the 10:20 area

Week 2: closer to target sleep time than week 1.

Success? Yes…ish.

Week 2 Drawback: caught a cold, back tweaked out again, so need even more sleep.

The problem with competing against yourself is that you can keep moving the goal post forward, and it can be difficult to ever declare victory. Exhausting.


Today’s Trial Habit-Shift Rating:

Novelty Rating: 

Lessons Learned:

  • Nothing like catching a cold to help you get more needed sleep. First my spouse, and now me.
  • On the other hand, my exercise activity is barely staying above my 3h45min per week threshold (from a previous year’s improvement project), what with back pain + having a cold. Hopefully this will even out..

Likelihood of Repeat: indeterminate. Maybe I just don’t care about this goal and that’s why it’s eluded me for years..

*SMART Objectives, per business school jargon: it’s best to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

Wellness Wednesday:
Week 1 Recap on Sleep Goals

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 6:15AMThen, 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…
Sleep goal week 1 experiment.

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..)

Lessons Learned:

  • 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…

September sleep patterns per Fitbit (but not paid for by them..yet), 11:30 bedtimes and 6 hours’ sleep.