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.)


8 thoughts on “TGI-almost-F

  1. Totally relate to the weird dreams thing – my sleep pattern is erratic at the best of times and I often wake up an hour early and try to ‘reclaim’ the hour by staying bed but the dreams are always borderline hallucinogenic…

  2. 6 hours is not a lot… I always wonder how people function with so little sleep… So yes, all for you working on getting more sleep.

    I’m trying to work on sleeping better as well. One thing I’m doing is meditating before going to bed. Or even if you just practise controlling your breath into deep, slow breathing before sleeping. I found it’s helped.

    The other thing I learnt a while ago that we don’t have as much control over but is nonetheless very interesting is that humans are actually biologically used to having 2 sleeps per day. Back when there was no electricity, humans used to go to sleep when the sun goes down. Then would wake up around midnight for a few hours (probably because it’s very hard to sleep that long continuously), then go back to sleep and wake up when the sun rises. This makes so much sense to me because I always tend to wake up in the middle of the night but obviously it’s not so practical with our current society.

    • I have tried a breathing thing in the past, and I think that helped (even if only to get my mind off other things). I’ll try it again.

      That’s pretty interesting about the two sleeps thing. What did people used to do for a few hours in the middle of the night, though? Imagine what the world would be like if everyone did this now lol

      • Yeah, maybe even just sitting quietly for a few minutes helps to clear the mind more before going to sleep. I find that focusing on the breath makes your mind forget about other things.

        I first saw it on a Ted talk I’m pretty sure but here is an article about it as well.
        Apparently people just did normal stuff for those few hours of awake-ness.

  3. wa a a ay back in the 1900’s — when I was almost 50 years younger — I axually had trained myself to quasi-meditate. at bed-time i’d lie down, focus, SLEEP. too bad I lost that ability, i’m sum-whut like you — lyin’ awake, sometimes w/strange dreams (can’t rite-awph-hand (or foot) remember non-strange dreams!). and, yeah, da circadean (sp) thing. plus the furry alarm clocks. conclusion: if I could have, say, six hours of deep/complete sleep, I think that’d be enuff.

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