Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sleepy Time

They have no problems sleeping all day and night. Totally jealous.

I am not a morning person. Not at all.

My mornings usually involve hitting the snooze button several times, followed by flying around my apartment trying to get ready in time, always running late. Lately, I've been so stressed, that I also haven't been getting much sleep during the night, leaving me groggy and less productive during the day, especially mid-afternoon. You might call me Oscar the Grouch. It would be fair.

So, when the first chapter of The Happiness Project focused on having more energy, I was totally tuned in. Gretchen focused on sleep and energy, and I figured that would be a good starting point for me too. Some of her strategies included:
  1. Set a specific bedtime.
  2. Get ready for bed well before your bedtime.
  3. Make your room very dark.
  4. Stretch.
  5. Keep your bedroom a little chilly.
  6. Make a list of everything you need to do the next day.
  7. Tidy up your bedroom.
  8. Exercise.
  9. An hour before bedtime, avoid work that requires alert thinking.
  10. Slather on body lotion.
  11. Put on socks if your feet are cold.
  12. Yawn.
  13. Tell yourself, "I have to get up now."
  14. Give up, and reframe your sleeplessness.
One of the first things that I decided to do to help promote better sleeping was to clear out the clutter in our room. The side of the bed next to my nightstand had become my dumping ground for stacks of important papers and bills, as well as all of my dissertation books and articles. Throw in a bunch of piles of clothes (some clean, some dirty, some waiting to be donated), and the place was basically a disaster zone. Nothing like clutter to block good sleep. It's like those dissertation books were staring me down in the middle of the night, making me feel guilty for not getting more done. Boo.

So I spent a whole Sunday cleaning our room, organizing all of the papers, and putting them in a new filing cabinet that I purchased. I also got a shoe rack, and organized my closet so that I can actually shut the door. The donation piles and the books moved out. I still need to find a new home for them, but I will do that when I have more energy. They are not welcome back in our room.

Bedtime is now 10 pm, no exceptions. The light has to go off at that time, and the room has to be as dark as possible. No blinking laptop lights. I have also been trying to put on my pjs by 8 pm. I honestly think it helps me get more tired. Call me an old lady if you will - I am turning 30 this week. It's fair.

Finally, one of my biggest challenges in getting to sleep is the stress of all of the things coming the next day. I keep a notepad by my desk for things that come up as I am trying to get to sleep, I pick out my outfit the night before, and I try to pack a lunch too. All those good night time things. But, I have also started spending the last half hour of my work day prepping for the next one. I have been clipping all of my To Dos, and any related paperwork to a clip board. It's waiting for me when I get in the next morning, which means I feel a little less chaotic during the evenings. Because, really, nothing I do is typically so urgent that it can't wait until the morning. 

After a week at a conference, my sleep schedule is still pretty off and I returned with a conference cold. Standard. But I am determined to condition my body to get more sleep. Chris doesn't have any problems sleeping. Not like I do. So he may be less excited about these changes. But he sure is being supportive. I think he would probably enjoy a less crabbier me.

Do you get sleep? How would your days be different if you had more sleep?

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