Day 10: Checking In

Bed, Bed, Bed

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Today is day 10 of my 30-day sleep hygiene challenge–it’s hard to believe I’m already one third of the way through it.  For one thing, I don’t feel like I’ve been working to improve my sleep hygiene all that long; for another, well, I don’t know…I guess I was expecting some sort of miracle change in my body’s approach to sleep to take place overnight (no pun intended, really).  Needless to say, that’s not exactly the path things have followed.

That’s not to say that things haven’t been going well, though!  On the contrary, I think the challenge has done a lot for my sleep hygiene so far.  In just 10 days, I’ve managed to:

  1. Get into bed earlier
  2. Break the habit of using the bed for things other than sleep (laptop use, other daily activities)
  3. Fall asleep a little earlier (I think, anyway)
  4. Shut down my laptop and spend the hour or so before bedtime doing things that are less stimulating and more relaxing

Over the past couple days, I’ve also noticed that I feel much less tired and groggy in the mornings.  It’s true that for the most part the positive effects of this challenge are mostly intangible at this part, but I think progress is being made!  At the beginning of the month, I had a few days where I ended up sleeping terribly; things have definitely improved in comparison to how they were when I first started the challenge.

There are some things about the challenge that have been kind of tricky (but it is a challenge, so I guess it’s to be expected).  For one thing, I’m coming to terms with the fact that sometimes, I’m just not ready to shut down my laptop at 9 pm (ahem, *right now*).  Clearly there is a time management issue that should probably be addressed in this case.  Also, being in bed doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to fall asleep any earlier than I usually do–I’m learning that all I can really do is try to train my body to get used to an earlier bedtime, and that it’s unreasonable for me to expect to fall asleep at 10 pm every night of the week, just because that’s what I’d like to be doing.

One of my goals for the next 20 days is to try out a few pre-bedtime relaxation aids, like the ones I mentioned in my original post.  I’ve held off on incorporating these things into my routine so far because I wanted to start off simply by getting my body to adjust to a new routine.  Now that I’m feeling pretty comfortable with the new behaviors I’ve introduced, I think it’s time to try out some things like a little bit of yoga, some sleepy time tea, or a glass of warm milk.  Will any of these supposed sleep-inducing standbys have a positive effect on my shut-eye?  That’s what I’ll be trying to find out!

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  1. My boyfriend has had great luck with melatonin before bed. He used to take sleep meds several nights a week, but that can leave you groggy in the morning. He says melatonin just makes him feel sleepier and “ready for bed” without feeling like it’s knocking him out. He’s played around with dosages and has found that even a small dose (one of the small pills) is enough to get him into sleep mode now.

  2. I’ve done the melatonin before, but I really do think some yoga before bed helps. I try to stretch every night before I go to sleep, it helps because I need to stretch anyway, and I’m more relaxed for sleeping :). I’m glad you’ve been able to work on getting better sleep though. It’s only been 10 days but I’m sure at the end of the month you will have a noticeable difference :).

  3. Im not sure if Ive told you about all my crazy sleep problems (I’ll tell you later…), but here is a handy tip from my sleep doctor which may be helpful to people without my problems. LCD screens – like on TVs, computers, iphones – emit a large amount of blue spectrum light. While not a noticeable difference to the human eye, apparently it can help stimulate your brain and keep you awake.

    I wear these great $8 blue blocker glasses I bought on Amazon. They are similar to the wrap around glasses old people get after going to the eye doctor. I put them on a few hours before bed, and take some melatonin (and omega 3s!)

    maybe this help 😉

    1. James, that helps a lot! I remember you having pretty bad sleep problems, and I’m glad to hear you’ve found solutions that work for you. I’d heard that about blue light, but I had no idea about the glasses! We live in a studio apt. so it’s kind of impossible to avoid computer monitor light. Sounds like I need to invest $8 as well 🙂

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