I kind of feel like a broken record. I tend to go through cycles, where I am on top of the things that make me feel good and healthy, and then I get lured into those habits that make me feel like crap. One huge thing that I struggle to stay on top of constantly is sleep.
I’ve written about my struggles with insomnia before. It’s been a problem for me since I was a kid (I’m not sure if insomnia is genetic, but my dad and brother struggle with it also), and I’ve spent more nights staring at the ceiling than sleeping restfully. Last year, I really figured out how to control my insomnia, but I’m finding that it takes quite a bit of diligence on my part, which I often lack. Consequently, I am frequently having to get myself back on track. Slipping into bad habits usually coincides with stress, and I’ve had plenty of that lately.
I could have sworn that I wrote an actual post of tips on fighting insomnia at some point, but I can’t find it, so I’ll just do a quick overview of the things that I find really important to falling asleep at night:
- Set a bedtime. For me, it’s important to get in bed around the same time every night so that my body gets used to falling asleep at that time. Staying up late on the weekends doesn’t seem to cause a problem for me, so I just focus on getting in bed around 10 Sunday-Thursday.
- Get up at the same time. I get up at 7am during the week. I never have to leave my house earlier than 11:15, but I really need the time in the morning to get school work done and exercise because I am not a productive or motivated person at night. It is easy to get up at 7 when I’m doing it every day and when I’ve gone to sleep at a decent hour.
- NO COMPUTER IN THE BED. This one is probably the biggest rule that I have to follow, and my biggest downfall. Sometimes I get anxious that I won’t be able to sleep, so I bring my computer into bed and browse around the internet. This is such a stupid thing to do, because the light from the computer makes it impossible to get tired.
- Read instead. I have read in bed for as long as I can remember. Even when I’m being a moron and browsing around the internet until all hours of the night, I wind up reading for awhile before going to sleep because it really relaxes me and makes me feel tired. I get into bed around 10, but unlike my damn husband, who can fall asleep whenever he wants, wherever he wants simply by closing his precious little eyes (clearly I’m bitter), it’s really rare that I can just get in bed and go to sleep. I usually read for around an hour before I actually turn out the light and go to sleep.
- Caffeine. I’m not so sure that coffee actually keeps me up. I drink cup after cup at work until my shift ends at 7pm (I know that sounds super healthy!), and as long as I follow the rest of the rules, I fall asleep at the same time easily. Also, on the weekends I’ll often have a cup of coffee late at night to try to stay awake, but that never works and I can easily fall asleep shortly after drinking it. However, coffee definitely has a placebo effect if I have to be up earlier than 7, like on the rare occasion that I have to work at 5:30am. If I have coffee, I’m convinced I won’t be able to fall asleep and therefore I can’t, so when I have to be up earlier, I don’t drink coffee after 2pm or so to be on the safe side.
Those are really basic things, but they really work as long as I am mindful of them. My insomnia had been getting worse and worse over the past month to the point where I was staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning and getting up at 8 instead of 7, but I was really exhausted and didn’t have enough time to get my work done. This week I’ve been sticking to my rules, and wouldn’t you know, I’m sleeping like a baby and feeling much less tired during the day!
On a completely unrelated note, that Syntax midterm I was so worried about?
WHAT. I missed 8 points throughout the test, but earned 7 points on the extra credit problem, so I basically aced the damn thing. That definitely doesn’t coincide with my level of understanding of the material, but I’ll take it!
Oh! And look at what I found at Goodwill this weekend:
Who would give that up?? What an idiot! I had to push some wedding photos aside to make room for it, but this majestic poster found a nice home prominently displayed on our bookcase in the living room. I couldn’t be happier.
I’m off to spend some quality time with my elliptical before class!