For the Next 30 Days

Nat and I don’t own a television so most of the TV watching that we do is of stuff that’s either streamed from Netflix, or available on Hulu.  Recently, we’ve been burning through episodes of a documentary/reality show that Morgan Spurlock did for three seasons a few years ago called “30 Days“.  The premise is pretty interesting: essentially, someone spends 30 days living the life of another person.  Every episode offers some kind of social commentary or challenges the viewer’s beliefs in some way.  It’s a pretty interesting show based on an interesting concept.

Given the fact that I will be turning 30 in a mere four days, I thought it might be interesting to adapt the idea behind “30 Days” and see if I might be able to do a bit of a year-long challenge.  The challenge would entail me working on some habit or behavior, or trying something new, for 30 days straight.  I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately, so I thought this might be a good way to do some of the things that fall into the category of “stuff I need to do that I’ll definitely start doing at some point, just not now”.  For the most part, I tend to avoid the things in that category because I’m just sort of lazy.  But now that I’m nearing a landmark year of my life, I’m starting to wonder what it might be like to face them head on.  If I like something, I can incorporate into my daily life.  If I don’t, well, at least I can say with certainty that it’s not for me.

Since September is my birth month and traditionally a time of new beginnings (at least for people, like me, who are still pretty closely connected to the school year schedule), I figure there’s no better time to start my Year of 30 Days.  My first project?  Work on my sleep hygiene.

Comfy cozy!

I have always been a pretty bad sleeper.  It takes me a very long time to fall asleep, and I have a hard time sleeping anywhere that isn’t a bed.  I’m bad at napping because I don’t fall asleep quickly, and I wake up feeling very groggy.  I can’t really choose my bedtime very well, because even though I may get into bed exhausted, it could take me a couple hours to doze off.  Those are things I’m not sure I have much control over.

There are many things, though, that I do have control over when it comes to sleep, and those are the things I want to work on over the next month.  I’m awful when it comes to limiting activities I do in bed to sleep–I knit in bed, I read, I watch stuff on my laptop, I play around on the Internet, and right now I’m blogging from bed.  If you know anything about good sleep hygiene, you also know that those things are all cardinal sins.

So, my goals?

  • Shut the computer down by 9 pm on weeknights, and 10 pm on weekends (ahem.  There’s no need to mention the fact that it’s past 9 and I’m blogging.  From bed.  I’ll explain that in a second).
  • Be in bed by 10 pm on weeknights, and 11:00 pm on weekends.
  • Keep a consistent wake-up time.
  • Limit activities in the hour between shutting the computer down and getting in to bed to quiet things, like reading, knitting, meditation, possibly some restorative yoga.  I’m going to permit TV watching, as long as it’s not done in bed.
  • Try some natural products that are supposed to promote sleep, like Valerian root tea, or lavender scented candles or essential oils.
I’m hoping that these adjustments (all of which are pretty easy) will help me to feel more rested and energized.  Lately I feel exhausted most of the time, and I’m sure poor sleep has something to do with it!  And as far as the 30 days are concerned for this first round–given that it’s currently 9:12 pm and will be later by the time I finish this post, I’m going to do this from September 2 to October 1.  Since October has 31 days, it all evens out.  I’ll report on my progress weekly, most likely in my Sunday Run-Down post.  Wish me luck!
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18 comments

  1. sounds like a great plan! I have used melatonin very successfully (in general I am a good sleeper, so I use it for traveling and if I KNOW I won’t be able to get to sleep) but I have heard that some people have creepy dreams if they take it.

  2. That sounds like a really good goal and it should help you in general in life, I mean sleep affects so much like our hunger, workouts, mood, etc. And I love that show! I wish it still came on but I was really addicted when it did, it was my favorite summertime show when I was in college (which was the 3 summers it was on).

  3. Honest question: is not being able to sleep outside of bed considered a bad thing, sleepwise? When I’ve talked to doctors and others about sleep problems (which are pretty much plain-jane depression hypersomnia/insomnia), they’ve always started by saying that the bed should be this magical sanctuary you do nothing but sleep in. I figured the converse was also true. I’m glad you’re going to be my guinea pig on this and I’m rooting for you!

    1. Good question. I never really thought about it from that angle. Mostly I just feel jealous of the people who can take naps on planes, or during a long car trip, and I wish I could do the same. But yeah, it might be better in terms of consistency and everything to keep sleep confined to the bed. I’ll look into it and let you know if I find anything!

  4. oooh! good goal… lately with my sleep issues i’ve been (somewhat) trying to have better “sleep hygiene”. i’m guilty of playing soduko on my phone for hourssss in bed instead of reading. i also need to follow the “get up and go do something else” rule after so long.

    good luck!!

    1. I’m terrible with the “get up and go do something else” thing too. I just feel like maybe if I just stay here in bed, sleep will come…and it doesn’t.

  5. I have the same poor sleeping hygiene like you do. I don’t think I ever had a consistent bedtime since middle school or something. I always stayed up late watching tv shows or doing something else and college life didn’t help my sleeping habits. After a while, the bad sleeping habits just got worse. I like your 30 day challenge for yourself and have come to take it as my own. I’ve started last night, I shut down my computer and went to bed after watching reruns of Criminal Minds. I was in bed by 10:15pm. Though, I had to wake up twice during the night because I wasn’t accustomed to sleeping that early, but I was up a few minutes before 6am. Got ready and did some morning errands. I’m pushing myself through the day with a nice cup of Starbucks free with a trade in of the empty SB coffee bag. I’ve set my mind up to have a productive 30 day. They do say you have to stick to a routine for 30 days for it to begin to stick and become a habit. So let’s hope we keep it up, beyond the 30 days.

    BTW, the blog I have has barely started, but I hope to start it soon.

  6. Do you still drink coffee? I used to be a tosser and turner at bed time, but once I quit caffeine and started exercising regularly, I sleep like a BABY. Evening yoga helps immensely too.

    Good luck! You are doing a good thing for your mind and body.

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