Since today is the first day of May, I have now had thirty nights of sleep through April, so I suppose it’s time for a recap on the never-ending struggle to fix my sleep.
I haven’t posted a recap for February or March because I went on holidays at the end of February and didn’t get a chance to look at that month’s data; and since I was not at work during most of March, I thought all of that data would be terribly skewed and show a falsely positive result.
Anyway, a quick glance over the February data shows that it was much the same as January, with several nights of inadequate and/or poor quality sleep. As such, I don’t think it would add much value to my study. Besides, I really can’t be bothered entering all that data and properly analysing it.
In the first two weeks of March, I was consistently sleeping at least 7.5 hours each night (often more), so I stopped recording my sleeping hours and scores because I figured it would just end up as a flat line of very uninteresting data.
In April things were kind of back to normal in the sense that I was back at work every week, so I resumed recording from then. Sure, I could have included the last week or so of March, but I was readjusting to not being on holidays, and I figured that it was better to just exclude it.
Well, anyway, enough preamble. Let’s get to my April results.
While not perfect (because, realistically, I don’t expect to get this perfect any time soon), April did show an improvement from January. Most notably, I had half the number of zero scores. (Quick reminder: each night’s sleep is scored 0, 0.5 or 1 depending on sleep quality, with zero, of course, indicating that I didn’t feel rested at all.)
However, I’m not sure if this is because I did sleep better or if I’m being more lenient with my scoring. I’d like to think that I’m still being pretty strict, but I also think I’m taking more time to think about how rested I feel before recording a score, rather than writing it down straight away after getting up. Potentially this means that instead of instinctively giving a zero score because I still feel tired when I get up, I give a 0.5 score after having gone to the bathroom and brushed my teeth, and realising I don’t feel so bad after all.
But this is all quite arbitrary and broad, and I acknowledge this is an imperfect system. My scientific mind knows I ideally need an objective measure, or maybe multiple objective measures. I’m thinking that I might have to remove 0.5 from the scoring system and just give everything a pass/fail result.
It is also interesting to note that almost every night with less than 6.5 hours’ sleep got a 0.5 or zero score. There was, however, one night that got a perfect 1 despite only 6.5 hours, and conversely a 7-hour night that got a 0.5 score.
I could create some kind of scoring based on how many times I snooze my alarm, but I don’t have alarms on the week-end (which includes Friday for me), so I’d probably need to account for that somehow. Otherwise, I could get rid of the scoring altogether and only record hours slept, since there seems to be a reasonable correlation to sleep quality, but I’m hesitant to do this because occasionally I’ll have restless nights (although, to be fair, they don’t happen often, so they’d be data outliers anyway, right?)
Other noteworthy notes: Of the three zero scores in April, two of them were Mondays (that is, sleeping on Monday night, waking up Tuesday morning). This is undoubtedly due to working late, since there seems to be a new trend of being unbelievably busy on Mondays, with work tapering out towards the end of the week.
The other zero score was for a Wednesday night, so I’m just going to blame work for that one as well. In fact, I recorded “finishing work late” as a reason for inadequate/poor sleep on seven occasions throughout April. This is about the same as January (six occasions), so not much has changed there (although I do believe things were getting better for a while, and then this pandemic situation and the new roster that has been implemented as a result kind of undid all the progress, but that’s an entirely different matter, so I won’t go into it much now)
On a positive note, I’ve approximately halved the number of times that being on my phone (either on social media or replying to messages) has impacted on my sleep. This last week in particular, I’ve made a conscious effort to avoid social media in the evenings, and instead only check these apps in the morning. These apps also still have daily time limits.
Actually, the other thing that has helped in April is the significant reduction in morning traffic, meaning that I can leave the house later on days that I want to start later, meaning that I can sleep in more. (Usually I start work at 7:30am, and traffic is ok then, but, pre-lockdown, if I wanted to start at 8:30am instead, I’d still have to leave home pretty early because traffic would get quite bad as the morning progressed. But now I can still leave home later, not sit in traffic, and get to work well before 8:30am.)
We shall see how May goes. It seems pointless to try to predict the trajectory of things these days.