sleep study

I was originally planning to do monthly recaps on the progress of my never-ending quest to fix my sleep, but I’ve come across an interesting revelation in the first couple of weeks, which I thought was worth noting here.

Previously, I had mentioned that I was going to try to do some reading and some Farsi (Persian) study every day, and that this goal is likely to hinder my goal of sleeping earlier. Maybe it’s still early days and too soon to make any conclusive judgement about this, but I’m finding that it actually tends to have the opposite effect.

I’ve talked to someone before (or probably to several people) about how, if I get home late (from work or other things), I generally have this feeling like I need to do something other than have dinner, shower, and brush my teeth (and floss, of course). At the very least, there ought to be some kind of active wind-down process, otherwise, as a friend concurred, there is a feeling of vague dissatisfaction.

In the past, when I’ve been too tired to do anything else, my nighttime routine would involve scrolling through social media for a bit, and then maybe reading until I was too sleepy to comprehend anything. Sometimes I wouldn’t get very far at all with reading, sometimes I’d get hooked, and become more and more alert as I read.

These days, after I have showered, and completed my dental care routine, I do my Farsi study, and then read a couple of pages of Nicholas Nickleby (which is my current primary book, which I have been reading over several months for reasons I will not delve into right now, but certainly in another post), and then I’d go to bed.

The benefits of doing this daily study/reading thing (which, by the way, doesn’t necessarily have to happen at night, but often tends to be that way because I’m too busy in the morning before work and during the day) are that (1) I always have a clear idea of what I’m going to be doing every night, and (2) no matter how incremental my progress in study/reading is, I still feel satisfied that I have made some progress and hence achieved something for the day.

These two things mean that I don’t waste as much time aimlessly scrolling through social media or aimlessly wandering around the house, wondering what simple task I could do before bed. It has also pretty much eliminated the “vague dissatisfaction” thing because even if I only write a couple of sentences of Farsi, or I only read a page of Nicholas Nickleby, I know I’ve achieved my daily goal. Most nights, when my study and reading is done, I go straight to bed.

As for my sleep scores, I’m still sticking with the zero to one scale, but I’m having to think a lot about my criteria for each score. Usually I’ll assess things like how many times I had to snooze the alarm before getting up, whether or not I needed coffee the next day, and if I woke up during the night. The only thing that makes it a bit tricky is if I’ve gone for a run or I’ve done some sort of strenuous exercise, and maybe that’s why I’m struggling to get out of bed (and not because I didn’t sleep well).

But maybe I need even more sleep if I’ve been more active (?)

Well, I’ll ponder on this a bit more, and figure something out, and do another recap in a few weeks’ time or when I have something interesting to report.


7 thoughts on “sleep study

      • Thinking about this post more…. (because I have similar issues) I’m wondering if you’ve factored in eating before bed, i.e., if eating too close/too far from bed time is an issue. I think having sugar before bed messes up my sleep but haven’t yet paid enough attention to the timing of “regular” food & its effect.

        • The relationship between food and sleep has crossed my mind before, but I’m not sure if it’s really a factor for me. If I wait at least two hours between finishing dinner and going to bed, I think I’m ok. I don’t usually eat much sugar at night, except maybe a bit of fruit, but an afternoon coffee is more likely to keep me up than a late night dessert (having said that, I am trying to stop having coffee after early afternoon).
          I think I’m also more likely to have weird dreams if I’ve had alcohol, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t be well-rested

          • I’ve read that sensitive types shouldn’t have caffeine after noon. Valerian can give me “colorful” dreams but like you say about alcohol, it doesn’t make me less rested.

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