Archive | March 21, 2013

Bedtime ritual

Having bad evening habits will affect your sleep.

A bad bedtime routine has been my downfall. This is the main thing that has been affecting my sleep. I think it started with wanting some time to myself after a day at work and getting my kids to bed. (I always think if that Ab Fab episode when Eddie’s friend, Bettina played by Miranda Richardson, is a fraught mother and Saffron says she should go to bed as the baby was asleep. Bettina, squeals as if on the edge of a nervous breakdown, “This is the only time I get to myself.” Even though you know it will do you no good, indeed, it will make you feel worse, ill even, you still want that time.)

My poor routine wasn’t helped by the fact that Mr Sans goes to bed early so I can’t go to bed and do a bit of reading as he is already asleep, which means I have to read on the lounge. Then add in the addictive lure of crap on TV and you have the no-bed bedtime routine.

So a quick nap before tidying the kitchen, turns into falling asleep for hours, but often not a deep sleep, waking every half hour as they shows change or ads come on louder. Then I feel unable to move because I am too tired to do the dishes but I won’t go to bed without doing the kitchen. Riveting stuff for a blog, I know.

So I need to establish a good bedtime routine. Doing the same thing every night at the same time helps your body to prepare for sleep. And having a routine that becomes a habit makes it second nature.

First step (and I have been here before) is to remove triggers. I have removed pillows, cushions and blankets from the lounge so I cannot be tempted to get cosy or rest my head, precursors to falling asleep.

All last week I put a new trigger in place: I have had a warm shower. It has been so muggy here that a shower makes it more comfortable to sleep as your limbs are no longer sticky. But a warm shower also helps you relax and changes your body temp. Your body cools as you sleep so the warm shower gives that process a boost. And I do other pre-bed chores such as remove make-up and get into comfy PJs. Then, after a bit of reading, or blogging, or Web surfing, or TV watching, off to bed at the same time.

My routine could be improved, eg turn electronic equipment off and dim the lights an hour before bedtime. But I fear this will send me to sleep on the lounge. Anyway for a week my new routine has been working. Unless I address this, how will I know if there are other sleep issues? I need to give my body a fighting chance to sleep.

Opps! “Rested” my head on the lounge arm rest last night and promptly fell asleep for less than half an hour. I was tired and should have gone to bed but thought it was a little too early. On waking I did some research and emails for work. This affected my natural tiredness rhythm and when I got to bed (after my 11pm bedtime because it is too easy to get lost in work) I thought I wasn’t going to be able to sleep as my mind was racing and I wasn’t as tired. I did fall asleep within 10 minutes. Now on waking, I am still tired. So my new bedtime routine has been making me feel better in the morning and I do not want to go back to the broken-lounge-dozing-late-to-bed pattern.

Today’s decluttered item = lids from our overflowing kitchen cupboard of plasticware. I still don’t understand the guilt I feel at throwing away plastic. Actually I do. It is the thought of this useless stuff being produced and then not used and me putting it into landfill to never rot down. These lids came as a set of “single use” plastic containers and a reusable container from a deli purchase. Maybe I should feel slightly OK in that I reused them and now they have come to the end of their life – the actual containers having vanished a while ago.