Tag Archive | sleeping well

Have you increased your hours of sleep, only to feel more tired?

I was reading another library book on sleep (The Sleep Diet by Dr Carmel Harrington), well skimming, which is a type of reading, and going blah, blah, blah. Nothing new. Checked the publication date. 2012. Too old. Sleep research has moved on. 

Also, and I know I shouldn’t hold this against the content but it would account for why I picked this book last to read, the paper is that cheap, rough paper and the print too small and dense. (Fashions in print I thought went out in the 1990s.)

But then I got to this line:

…when you implement change and start getting the hours of sleep that you really need, you may feel, initially, more tired than before, despite the fact that you are sleeping more.

Yes, that’s me every holidays. I thought I’d just caught a dose of lazy holiday fever!

The doctor goes on to say this is not due to too much sleep. 

Oh dear. I always have a go at Mr S, telling him off for sleeping too much during holidays and saying that by oversleeping he is causing himself to be more tired and thus sleeping more. And that what he needs to do is sleep less. “So get off the couch on the verandah you lazy thing!!!!”

So what causes the sleepiness when we increase our hours of sleep? 

The doctor says it is not understood yet but may be, if our sleep has been habitually short, say six hours, and we increase it to eight hours a “result of both the ‘unmasking’ of our sleep debt and the fact that we stop driving ourselves so hard in order to overcome our sleepiness.”

So it should pass. And we should eventually return to normal rhythms and wake energised. 

Except in our house we return to our short sleep patterns as term resumes and then have to catch up every term break when we stop pushing ourselves so feel sleepy again, despite more hours asleep. 

A cycle we need to stop. 

Getting enough sleep?

My answer is a resounding no.

Of course, the question demands another question: how much is enough?

My answer is I’m still not getting enough. And not enough good sleep.

I’ve been trying to improve my sleep for years. Bad habits such as falling asleep on the lounge reappear all too frequently. I relax on the lounge and then am too tired to do my before bed routines. So I sleep for a few hours, and then make my way into bed, only to toss and turn for hours.

So no putting my head down on the lounge. I know I will fall asleep.

And off to bed by

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What about you? Getting enough sleep? Getting the right sleep?

Back sliding

I got one of these as a gift:

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It’s a heated blanket, or throw as they are now called. Don’t be fooled by the picture. No one sits with this beautiful, warming blanket on. You put this baby on and lie down and immediately fall asleep. It is evil, I tell you!

And what, prey tell, does this have to do with back sliding, you ask!

So glad you asked. Well, let me tell you what this evil throw has done.

Remember I had the bad habit of falling asleep on the lounge? My focus for all of March was improving my sleep.

And I was an outstanding success.

I identified my triggers, removed obstacles and stayed focused. Every time I was sleepy, I took myself to bed and was sure by the end of March I had broken the habit of falling asleep on the lounge. All of April my new habit was well and truly in place.

Until my back went out again a few weeks ago! Extremely immobile, every time I rolled over in bed the pain would wake me. So my sleep became disturbed.

And then last weekend I got this heated throw! I haven’t made it to bed every night this week until after 12, after falling asleep on the lounge.

So as much as I love this blanket, for my own good I will pack this away. And bring it out for cold weekend afternoons, when reading, watching DVDs, or dozing are on the To Do List.

But I am like an addict, and I can feel the call of this throw. Did I tell you it comes with a timer and seven heat settings.

No, walk away from the cupboard, Lucinda. Walk away. Now!

Now time for today’s log:

  • 1. Did I have a laugh today?
  • Yes, with my sister-in-law. Lookie here, this made me laugh: what the?

  • 2. Did I give someone a hug today?
  • Yes.

  • 3. Did I do a relaxation activity, such as read a book, have a bath, light a candle, dream, call someone and have a chat, sit in the sun?
  • Yes. Read a chapter of a book in peaceful silence.

  • 4. Did I do something good for someone else or be nice to someone?
  • Drove and accompanied a family member for a medical procedure.

    Today’s decluttered item = advertising material from a conference I attended in 2012. As I am about to attend this year’s conference, I thought it was about time I sorted last year’s material. After all, I haven’t looked at it since, nor used it so into the recycling bin. I read an interesting post on 365 Less Things about using the floor as a storage space. It made me do a double take. Yes, I do that. So out with unneeded things. Don’t store them. Don’t hang onto them. Don’t make your house cluttered, uncomfortable and messy.

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    Sleep Diary

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    Sleep diary complete. Time to analyse the results. My sleep diary went across the Easter long weekend. Aren’t we lucky here that we get Friday and Monday off as public holidays? Anyway, my sleep patterns were slightly different as I had four mornings where I did not have to get up and rush to get to work. Also I could have my much loved day time naps. On Easter Sunday I napped big time! And I slothed around, reading a book in bed. But good news…

    I did not fall asleep on the lounge. Not once!!!

    A couple of times I felt really, really tired, my eyes were heavy and I said to myself, “Time to go to bed.” No arguments, the inner brat just did as she was told.

    If you read Prof Phelps’s guide, you would know she has nine questions. Rather than put up a table (which I can’t do anyway as I blog on my iPad and don’t know how to do it – and don’t want to faff about with it anyway so don’t bother leaving a message if you wish to share this bit of knowledge, presuming it can be done by some techno geek anyway) I am going to give a summary.

    I went to bed between 10.15 and 12.20. The early time was actually after a family day on Good Friday when I didn’t have to go to work the next day. Twice I went to bed after midnight and both of those were on long weekend nights and when I had big naps, so I wasn’t tired in the evening.

    Every night I fell asleep immediately. Knowing I can do this has taken a great weight from my mind.

    I generally woke twice a night for various reasons – Mr Sans snoring or back pain. I found that putting on a pedestal fan gave a very sleep inducing white noise. So all except once, I fell asleep immediately, like a baby who learns to put themselves back to sleep.

    I dreamt every night but nothing that would constitute a nightmare or particularly disturbing.

    On work days I woke just before 6am, before my alarm went off. And on weekend/public holidays, I woke between 7 and 8 am, again without an alarm. I felt fine when I woke.

    On average I slept 7 hours and 20 minutes. I am satisfied with my sleep but think an extra 30 minutes each day would be better, especially given I can’t have naps three days a week. I don’t want to sound like one of those whingers who always want an extra half an hour and continually moan about their poor sleep as I am actually quite pleased with my sleep and what I have achieved this month.

    I think my main problem was poor evening habits – staying up too late, falling asleep on the lounge, not doing the dishes and kitchen cleanup and make-up removal straight away and then feeling too tired to do the chores so needing a little “rest” before I could face all the pre-bed tasks.

    Establishing a good routine has meant my sleep hygiene is more hygienic! Mr Sans still snores but as I am sound asleep, he doesn’t seem to disturb me. I have told him we will have to use the fan during winter as well, as the the white noise is soooo relaxing.

    Today’s decluttered item = 4 shoe boxes. I have tidied up the base of my cupboard and these aren’t longer needed. We collect more boxes than we realise. I think I think they may come in handy. But we have enough if they are ever needed. And sometimes they hide things we could actually declutter. As shoe boxes stack so well I didn’t even notice that some of these boxes were empty. So not even needed for shoes.

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    Still on track

    Just dropping in to say I am doing well – both in tracking my sleep and not falling asleep in the lounge.

    When the week is up, ie on Monday morning, I will post my sleep diary. Two sleeps to go but I have to say I’m quite chuffed with myself. I think I have achieved my March goal.

    Today’s decluttered item = craft scissors. I know I decluttered 7 items on my last post to last me the week, but I just decluttered these. I gave them to my niece who is still at primary school, so hopefully they will be of some use or fun. Remember, while decluttering I am trying to avoid adding to landfill.

    I read a good piece of info somewhere (can’t remember where, sorry). It said to start decluttering with your storage areas, because if they are cluttered, you will have nowhere to put your “stuff”. I have already posted about how my clothes used to fall out of my cupboards onto me when I was trying to find a particular item. I also have a “junk room” with piles of stuff (most of it Mr Sans I might add). There is no where to put this stuff because we are the reverse of Mrs Hubbard; our cupboards are over full.

    Start decluttering the stuff in your cupboards, wardrobes and drawers, so you can find the right place for other stuff, stuff you want to keep. Don’t just leave things in storage with a case of out of sight, out of mind. These scissors have been in the filing cabinet drawer with other stationery for over 6 years, used maybe once or twice in this time. These are the type of thing you forget you own and reason that as they take up so little room, they may as well stay. After all, look at all the stuff on the floor. Mmmm! But as I clear space in my storage areas, I will have space to organise and pack away the things on the floor I want to keep.

    My goal of an organised life cannot be achieved if I have over-full, cluttered, disorganised storage areas. One thing a day will get me to my goal.

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    Setting sleep goals

    So having done some reading and reflection, it is time to set goals and put a plan in place.

    Here are my goals:
    1. To have 6 to 7 hours of sleep every night.
    2. To fall asleep without difficulty.
    3. To sleep undisturbed with just one or two waking times in the night but getting back to sleep without difficulty.

    Activity:
    1. Go to bed at 10.30.
    2. Develop a bedtime routine. Have kitchen done, shower, remove makeup by 10pm.
    3. Get up by 9 on weekends.
    4. Get 15 minutes of sunlight every morning.

    Obstacles / solutions:

  • Getting overstressed about not sleeping well / use meditation techniques
  • Watching too much TV / use timer on TV
  • Siren call of lounge / remove cushions and blankets; do bedtime routine as soon as feeling tired
  • Mr Sans’ snoring / have him seek treatment
  • RESULT = A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP

    Set your own plan! See if you can have a new normal when incomes to sleeping well.

    Last night I was in bed by 11.20. I was watching a show I wanted to see and was feeling tired. At first I tried to convince myself that the show was worth fighting my sleepiness. Then I stood firm and told my inner brat to go to bed. I fell asleep immediately. Unfortunately Mr Sans explosive snoring woke me at 4. I couldn’t sleep so got up at and read for an hour an a half. Got back to sleep and slept until 8.30. Lazed in bed until now. 6 1/2 hours sleep. I’m seeing a pattern here.

    Today’s decluttered item = wardrobe smelly things. The bottom of one side of my wardrobe is now clear, ready to be wiped down. These had fallen to the bottom from the rail from which they were hanging. They have long since lost their smell and anti-moth power. But did you read that? The wardrobe floor is bare! (Well, one section of the wardrobe.)

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    Bedtime!

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    When we are children, our parents set our bedtime.

    “It’s time for bed.” And while we might argue, or ask for a glass of water, or ask for another story, or try to sneak out to look at the TV (in the era when there was no second TVs in bedrooms) we accepted the fact that there was a set time for bed. And I remember falling asleep quickly and soundly and then bounding out of bed the next morning. I know they are not false memories.

    So what happened?

    It is so obvious: if you are not getting to bed until very late and you have to get up early, you are setting yourself up to be tired! It is a statement to which the only response is, “DER!”

    Staying up to watch TV, or working late, or surfing the net. I really have to set a time limit.

    It might be genetic, because my mother does the same thing. But I think it is just a host of bad habits. Ones adopted by many adults. Well, time to be the adult and set a limit. TV is not more important than sleep.

    I have been getting into bed by 11pm. I will set my new bedtime as 10.30. If I sleep straight away, and wake up at 6, that’s 7 1/2 hours.

    What is it about Friday night that makes me give myself permission to stay up and watch tele? I went out for dinner and drinks and was home after 10, but thought I’d have a cup of tea. Started flicking between movies on TV, rested my head against the arm rest and … Yes, I slept. In bed at 12. Luckily I went back to sleep immediately and slept soundly until 7. If I do this when I am focusing on my sleep, what am I going to be like when I stop posting everyday about sleep? I need to stop giving myself permission to break my goals. And I need to stay focused!

    Today’s decluttered item = a pair of pants I have never worn. I have three pairs of these pants. This tale may sound mad but a few years ago I got caught up in a spending spree from a cheap on-line clothes store that had very cheap and quite nice clothes. I bought multiples of different items, including these pants. The thought was to have one with long legs for high heels; take up the hem for another pair to wear with flats; and turn another pair into shorts. More than 3 years later I can confidently say it ain’t gunna happen! I don’t sew. I have never sown. So why would I do this to myself – place the guilt of having to do something? They have languished, forgotten, at the bottom of my wardrobe. How much tidier will it look without something cluttering the base? How much nicer will my clothes hang without something piled on the base of the wardrobe, restricting the straight hanging of my clothes?

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    Relax!

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    Going to bed with worries on your mind will stop you sleeping.

    My poor bedtime routine just pips stress as as the major factor affecting my sleep. My mind is often racing about things to be done at work.

    If only there were an easy way to switch off your mind, or to stop stress in its tracks.

    What works for me is to write a list of jobs before I leave work. It is one of the strategies that I use to put a shield between home and work. I try to switch off work and onto home. My regular walk and Pilates classes have helped with this. I “workshop” my thoughts while walking and work them all out of my system. Walking through a bit of bush is also relaxing.

    Yoga techniques of relaxation, focusing on the breath, has also helped clear my mind.

    Unfortunately I have also “self-medicated” with alcohol. That is why I instigated a no-alcohol day on Tuesday and Thursday.

    I have found that the bedtime routine also helps still my mind and prepares me mentally and physically for sleep. And if I don’t push through my sleepiness and stay up too late, I can go to bed and not lie their thinking.

    Back on track and in bed at 11pm. Slept quickly and soundly. But I don’t like this waking at 5! Stayed awake for an hour, then slept for another hour. Feeling tired and could have slept for more hours. If I had my normal start I would have had to get up just after 6, which is when I fell asleep again. But I am going to a different office and have a later start today.

    Today’s decluttered item = an Yves Saint Laurent eye liner. It is black which is a little harsh for me, but sometimes you want black. I mention its brand name because that is why I have hung onto it. Shallow, I know. But its downfall is that is smudges too easily. Forget panda eyes, I have runs on top and bottom lids. No need to keep trying it, I know it is no good. In the bin.

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    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.

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    Melatonin

    Melatonin is the hormone which gives the signal to sleep. It is released when darkness falls and reaches it peak at around 2pm. Older people produce less melatonin.

    You can buy melatonin tablets. These are used to change sleep patterns like to combat jet lag or shift work.

    Disclaimer time: speak with your GP if you think you need any medication.

    OK, now back to info gleaned from Prof Phelps and the Internet. If you have trouble getting to sleep, melatonin in the erly evening may help getting to sleep. If you wake around 3am, taking a tablet then might help you continue sleeping in the morning.

    I don’t want to take anything, however “natural” it may be. Tryptophan is apparently a precursor to melatonin so if you eat food rich in tryptophan, such as warm milk, you can boost melatonin levels. But at the moment, I am not going to take anything (& i wont drink warm milk) as my problems mainly stem from bad sleep routines and stress. But if my sleep problems continue after I address my stress levels and bedtime routines, or if other sleep problems reveal themselves such as waking too early, then I might consider taking melatonin.

    Getting into a good routine: in bed at 11, slept quickly and soundly, woke once but went to sleep quickly. Woke on my alarm and feel fine, although I go back to sleep for a few more hours.

    Today’s decluttered item = another white shirt. This one is a lovely white, and meets my standard. It is linen which I love but which doesn’t love me. The cut also just doesn’t suit me. Arms a tad too short, shoulders make me look fat. I’ve had it for a while but never wear it. Why have I kept it, cluttering up my wardrobe?

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