Remember my Sleep Boot Camp? I haven’t been sleeping well, and decided to try all of the good advice out there for sleeping better. I’ve kept it up for about a month now, and so far I haven’t been able to make any progress. My deep sleep (as measured by my activity band ) kept at a low part of my total sleep, 31,2% in average (16% at the lowest – but that was on a night when I drank wine. My sleep gets seriously disturbed by alcohol, I already knew that.) No matter what I’ve done or skipped doing, I can find no correlation to my sleep.

But since Wednesday last week my average deep sleep has been 51,9% – and that includes friday night when I again had wine (and still managed 37,2% of deep sleep)! And I am feeling it, I haven’t felt this rested in a very long time. What did I do to make this dramatic improvement happen? What habit did finally click? None. On Tuesday last week I went to the doctor and got a cortison shot for the ace in my hips. I guess the pain has had me twisting and turning at night, and that has made it difficult to get into that really relaxed, deep sleep…

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just aint so.” Mark Twain

I’ve been operating under false assumptions. I’ve had trouble sleeping before, and it’s been related to stress and my burn out/fatigue-syndrome. So I just assumed that this was the problem now as well… and jumped to the conclusion that I had to change my evening habits, de-stress more. Somehow it’s very easy for me to believe that any problems I have are related to something I’m not doing right… Well, no harm done this time, at least I know that drinking tea and watching a movie at night doesn’t affect my sleep negatively.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of false assumptions, isn’t it? I often find myself being surprised but things people say or do – even mr Livslevandes after 20+ years of living together. I don’t think of myself as a prejudiced person – but since I get surprised, obviously I had a false idea of how people were going to act. And that’s the very concept of prejudice and sterotyping, isn’t it?

I try to notice my surprise, though, and use it to find the underlying assumption, so that I can adjust it. I think it’s inevitable to generalize – it’s the way our brains work. If we didn’t generalize, we’d never be able to recognize a dachshound and a german shepherd as both being dogs, for instance. But I think it’s good to be aware of the fact that we all do generalize, and be open for adjustments. No need to be angry with yourself or ashamed for having misconceptions – think of it as a way of learning more about yourself.

It can be fun, if you have the time, to try to figure out where your false assumption came from. For me sometimes it’s ideas that planted themselves when I was very young, and then just sort of stayed there being “truths” until my surprise put the searchlight on them. Or it can just be that somebody looks a bit like someone I once knew, who did things a certain way. Or maybe just looks like somebody on TV who did things that way… Or in the case of mr L actually DID do things a different way 20 years ago – people change. And that’s a good thing.

So now I’m putting a stop to my Sleep Boot Camp. I’ll be analysing my data (my inner nerd would never forgive me if I collected data and did not analyse it!), but then I’ll move on to other things. Now that I know that the assumptions I made were false, it’s time to let the actions I took because of them go too.