I’ve written before about the importance of investing your time in sleep. Right now I feel like I’ve forgotten to make my deposits at the sleep-bank. But when I check my sleep statistics (my inner nerd loves my activity band and all that it measures) I haven’t been sleeping less than usual. I’m actually sleeping more than normally, but I’m still not feeling rested. This is a great, big warning sign that my stresslevels are rising. Time to do some more focused investing.
There are a lot of advice about how to sleep better. I keep hoping there will be something new that I haven’t tried yet, but if there is I haven’t been able to find it… The advice is:
- get enough light in the day, preferrably daylight
- excercise – but not to late in the evening
- no coffee, nicotine or alcohol at night (no caffein uo tp 10-12 hours before bedtime!)
- try to go to sleep and get out of bed at the same time every day (including weekends)
- do nothing but sleep in bed (except sex – that will help you relax, se below)
- take time to relax before sleep (if not by sex, than by slowing down, dimming the lights etc)
- empty your mind before going to bed – don’t take your worries with you
- no bright screens before bedtime (2-3 hours before!)
- keep the bedroom dark and cool
I’ve tried them all. Actually I’m living by most of them, I think. At least most days…
- luckily for me I´m working only 4 hours a day, this time a year the days are short in the north of Sweden and I walk to work at dawn and home again at sunset… But in daylight, still.
- ok, I could excercise more, I admit! But I do walk every day, at least. (Extreme conditions excluded.) I’ll try to add something with a little more intensity.
- I only drink alcohol at weekends, preferrably fridays. It affects my sleep very much and on weeks like this I usually skip it entirely. I don’t smoke, and only sometimes drink coffee at work, never after lunch. But I do drink tea. A lot. Swithching for herbal/fruit-tea in the evenings from now on.
- I’m not a morning person… the best part of weekends is to get to sleep until I wake up without the alarm! But I generally don’t sleep that much later. An hour extra, maybe… But if it helps me improve my sleep, so be it. For a while. As short as possible while.
- I do read in bed, always have. But I limit myself to books, not the web. I’ll try to read before I go to bed instead for now.
- I’ve got an evening ritual. Or at least an idea of one – I light a scented candle, brew tea (herbal, not black or green), put on some quiet music and write in my journal. And then go to bed. Not every night, not yet… but getting there. (And if mr L is in the mood sometimes I get lucky, too!) – I also do relaxing excercises/guided meditations, when I get home from work.
- my journaling is emptying my mind.
- I’m aware of this, and trying. Not always succeeding… But my aim is no electronics after my evening walk at 6 pm.
- the bedroom is dark and cool (but we have a nightlight, maybe unplug that?)
- I’m also taking l-glycine every night, it used to help a lot (wrote about that before) but either I’ve gotten used to it so I need to up the dose (currently at 1 teaspoon/night), or the problem isn’t in its range to solve.
What I haven’t done is to be systematic about all of this. My problem right now is not that I don’t get enough sleep – I do. It’s the quality of my sleep that’s deteriorating. I know where it’s coming from as well – the cumulative effect of big holidays and extra busy times at work… High stress levels. But I don’t want to take sick-leave, so I’ve got to do this some other way.
Due to my fatigue-syndrome I have low levels of deep sleep (the restorative part of sleep) on the best of days. The activity-band measures that to (or rather, it measures how much I move during the night and approximates). According to it’s statistics I get an average of 2 hours 25 minutes deep sleep from my average 7 hours 25 minutes sleep. 32.6% (my inner nerd is loving this!). I lent Mr Livslevandes the activity band for a while, and he is at a solid 42.6%. That means that he gets about one nights extra worth of deep sleep per week over me, if we sleep the same hours! And this last week my average is 7 hours 56 minutes of sleep – but only 1 hour 41 minutes of deep sleep. 21.2%. And I’m feeling it, believe me.
So I’m going to give my inner nerd full range here – try to really do all of the things on the list, keep a journal so I can see if it gets me anywhere. And use the statistics to see what effects I get if I miss a day with something, which I most certainly will. Hopefully I’ll get improved deep sleep, and then I can start to backpedal one thing at a time and see what affects my sleep the most. This is not a quickfix, this has to be a longterm project. I’ll aim for 3 months, I think (of journaling, the routines that work will stay).
Luckily there is nothing here that interferes with my idea of a simpler life. (Except maybe having to get up in the morning on weekends…) And not feeling this tired would definately make life feel a lot more joyful!