Ten days into the first month of my Happiness Project, it was becoming crystal clear that “sleep is my nemesis.” As a matter of fact, not only did I go to bed last night past eleven, I also managed to toss and turn half the night.
Apparently, going to bed late robs me of precious sleep quantity AND sleep quality. The sad part is that this isn’t my first rodeo. I have no excuses for my behavior. I am well aware of the benefits of good sleep as I am of the disadvantages of sleep deprivation.You would think that being so intimately acquainted with the negative impact of too little sleep; I would hit the sack as soon as the sun goes down.
Even if tired, I relish the quiet and coziness of late evenings…mainly, I love the silence.
Late at night, I can accomplish tasks in half the time it takes me during the day. I am productive at night. Sadly, increased productivity does not translate to a rested woman come the next day.
Sleep is my Nemesis: The Dilemma
So here I am, on day ten, staring at my Energy resolution chart which does not hold one single check mark under “sleep.” I have indeed managed to go to bed past 9 pm every single night. As a matter of fact, my bedtime has progressively gotten later as I entered this second week of my Happiness Project.
I am disappointed in myself, and I am frustrated.
Remember commandment number 7: Identify the problem.
The problem is that after dark (around 6 or so this time of year) when I look at the clock and see it is 8:30 pm or sooner, I feel I still have plenty of time to “do” something productive rather than start winding down for the night.
Staying active makes it hard for me to switch gears on a dime at 9 pm and suddenly think “bedtime!” Moreover, when I go to bed, I toss and turn because thoughts are still swirling in my head and I have a hard time shutting them off.
Sleeping Tips to Make Sleep my Friend
I need to develop the habit of turning the computer off by 8 pm (or 8:30 at the latest), as most of my late night activities are computer related: writing, messing around, paying bills, etc. These are activities I can accomplish at another time.
On a side note, albeit a related one, I am familiar with the negative impact the bluish tint of screens has on sleep cycles. For this very reason, I have installed a free software named F.lux on all my devices (desktops and laptops).
I need to have a small notebook on hand to write whatever comes to mind as I wind down for the night.
It seems that the process of shutting down for the evening sends my brain into search mode for all the activities I have yet to accomplish or for new ideas to pursue. These bursts of cerebral activity have me running back to the computer to write them on my to-do list which in time, turns into more time on the computer.
Instead, I can jot my thoughts on paper and in the morning, after a good night sleep, I can transcribe and decide when to my to-do list. Moreover, once written down, my brain can stop sending me these reminders knowing I won’t forget.
When I was a young child, and I often stayed with my maternal grandmother. She would often give me a cup of linden tea or warm milk sweetened with honey. I have fond memories of both my Mamie and the nocturnal cup of warm brew.
In the not so distant past, I did conduct some research on Linden flower and in the process, reaffirmed something I already knew to be true: my Mamie was wise. While chamomile tea is more popular in the United States, Linden flower tea is often used in Europe as a sleep aid.
As to the warm milk, is it really an answer to a sleepless night?
The thought behind warm milk as a beneficial sleep aid is that milk contains two substances which are related to relaxation (and sleep): the hormone melatonin and the amino acid tryptophan. The scientific data is not conclusive, and many say that the milk-sleep connection is an old wives’ tale. Others swear it is a truism.
Personally, warm milk works for me. Whether this is a fact because of the substances contained in milk or because of the placebo effect, I don’t rightly care since I like the results.
My solutions are as of yet untested. I intend to put my new sleep resolutions into motion tonight!
If you have any advice for me, please leave it in the comments below.