My nephews do this thing where they resist sleep for at least half an hour each time they’re laid down in their beds. It’s a whole production of denying, bargaining, and finally acceptance.
It turns out I’m not that different with these two-and-a-half-year-olds.
I’ve started tracking my sleep these past few weeks. The results, like all click-bait titles promise, are unbelievable, astonishing… which is to say, completely not at all.
How my night routine has been, pretty much my whole life
- Late dinners, because of my habit of having late lunches (anytime before 2:30 PM is early for me)
- Coffees and cokes all through the day, baby!
- Screens (laptop), screens (phone), screens (both) all the way before bed
- “Just one more thing” before I switch the lights off
- Inconsistent sleeping hours; 12:30 AM is pretty early, kinda
- Lying stomach-down on my bed with my laptop in front of me, and falling asleep with the lights still on before startling myself awake sometime in the middle of the night, around 3 AM
- Using my phone in bed after lights out, on the occasions when I do switch the lights off
- Using my phone as an alarm, and hitting that snooze button but totally engineering it by setting an alarm that is earlier than I mean to wake up
- I’m fortunate that even while doing all of these things like a real asshole, my body clock is still functional and I usually wake up around the same time, and sometimes before the alarm
- …And then I hit the snooze button for just a few more minutes.
There are some things that are unavoidable, like looking at screens before bed. It’s 9:57 PM and I’m drafting this out on my phone right now (my external monitor fizzled out earlier this week – moment of silence please).
I’m still not sure how to fit in all the things I want to accomplish within the hours of the day after work has taken up a whole chunk of it (read, write, watch stuff, play the ukulele, walk… the list goes on), and still be able to get to bed at a decent time.
Still, there’s at least some correlation that good sleep quality will perpetuate the healthy parts of our lives (even though this debunking and ongoing drama of Why We Sleep cracked me up), which is why I’ve been trying to make my sleep environment and circumstances better.
Changes I’ve been making
What gets measured gets managed, and in hindsight, I’m actually surprised at myself that I wasn’t already tracking my sleep, given that I track every other aspect of my life.
For now, I’m using SleepScore and have been for the past three weeks, but there are a couple of issues. One of it is that I have to keep it by my bedside, which definitely keeps me in the habit of scrolling forever before I decide to drift off too.
The other bigger issue is its inaccuracy on some nights, where there will be long periods of no detection. This skews the tracking and obviously defeats the point. So, to that end, I have bought a FitBit Charge that should be getting to me soon!
Outside of that, I have also been trying to sleep before midnight. It’s a weird thing, because I feel like I’m losing precious time going to sleep at an earlier hour, even though I know that the effects of sleeping early will compound in ways that trying to keep myself awake would.
Especially when I’m trying to keep awake trying to read one last thing, or watch one last thing, or continue conversations.
Exactly like my two-and-a-half-years-old nephews.
(Check back on this experiment in a bit; I’ll probably write an update to track my progress!)