This feels like it’s been the longest week ever. Coming off a couple of short weeks, due to public holidays, and then having a normal Monday to Friday plus a full Saturday shift is not fun. My mind has been a day ahead all week.
The draggy-ness of this week is probably not helped by my less-than-ideal sleeping pattern this week.
I’d decided some time around New Year’s that I wanted to fix my sleeping habits/routine this year. Six hours a night is not sustainable. I’m sure I wrote about this in a post at some point last year…
Anyway, my friend recently sent me a link to all these TED talks about the importance of sleep, in an effort to encourage me to sleep more and sleep better. There were a lot of things I already knew – like how sleep is important for memory consolidation – but I learnt a few new things too – like how quality sleep improves decision-making and creativity, and that sleep is required for the clearance of amyloid beta from the brain (amyloid beta is associated with Alzheimer’s Disease).
And, you know, it was great; I was really inspired to fix this part of my life. I’ve long figured out that the best way to get me motivated to do something, or to change a behaviour, is to put the focus on health. Although it doesn’t always seem to be the case, I do actually care about my health.
Even before watching all those TED talks, I’d already started using the bedtime alarm thing on my phone (it’s seriously just an alarm to remind me when I need to go to bed in order to get the necessary/specified number of hours sleep before the waking-up-alarm). This actually seemed to work ok for a while, and I did get to bed “on time” on most nights.
The problem, then, was that I was waking up before the waking-up-alarm – like, an hour beforehand.
Another reason to hate summer: the sun is up way too early.
Of course, when this happened, I’d just go back to sleep. Sometimes this was easy, but sometimes it was a struggle. Recently, I started noticing that it’s in this brief sleep interval (between waking up with the sun, and waking up with my actual alarm) that I have the weirdest dreams. There have been some frickin’ intense dreams.
This week, on the unconventional advice from a colleague, I’ve gone back to my six-hour sleep routine. From what I remember, I’ve slept through the night, every night, to be gently woken by my alarm in the morning. (Yeah, I know, maybe if I’d slept more, I’d actually remember, and wouldn’t be using phrases like “from what I remember”.) And it’s been ok – I haven’t been tired during the day, and I haven’t had weird, traumatic dreams.
BUT I know it’ll catch up with me: today I felt fine tiredness-wise, but I just wanted to close my eyes – just rest my eyes a bit (although this could also be because of the air-con at work, and the ethanol spray that we use to decontaminate things…)
In my defence, when I’ve been staying up late, it’s mostly to organise/research stuff for my upcoming holiday. (I’m going to pretend this is an acceptable excuse because holidays are important; and also because I’d be potentially too excited/worried to be able to sleep anyway, so I might as well stay up a bit extra and look into this holiday stuff.)
And, yeah, I’m writing this close to midnight on a weeknight, but I don’t start work until 12pm tomorrow, so it’s ok, right? Just this once…?
Jess Glynne’s “Don’t be so hard on yourself” just came on (from my playlist of most listened-to songs from last year), so I’m going to take that as a sign. These sorts of changes take time, right? Set-backs and relapses are all part of the process, just need to learn how to move past them, etc, etc. Yeah, we’ve all heard it all before.
But I’ll make this happen. Mark my words. (And, if it’s un-fixable, I can always just delete this post and remove all evidence of the whole endeavour.)