Dear bedtime, I have a confession

I’m not interested in you.

I have trouble sleeping at 10 PM, this month’s prescribed bedtime.

Let me backtrack a little. I’m doing this 30-day challenge of getting enough sleep. I’ve read enough convincing data that getting at least 7-1/2 hours of sleep at night have many profound effects on all aspects of my life.

Today is Day 4.

Since I want to wake up everyday at 5:30 AM so I can start regularly training for a half marathon I have already signed up for, I have to be sleeping by 10 PM.

My strategy:

  • Stop drinking coffee after 3 PM.
  • At 9:30 PM, turn off the ipad, dim the lights.

No success.  I toss and turn until I finally fall asleep after midnight.

So when the alarm goes off at 5:30 the next day, I always groggily shut it off and go back to sleep.

Result: no exercise.

B-A-D.

What then  should I do?

Thankfully, I found this sort of “reverse” suggestion by Steve Pavlina:

If you sleep set hours, you’ll sometimes go to bed when you aren’t sleepy enough. You’re wasting time lying in bed awake and not being asleep.

If you sleep based on what your body tells you, you’ll probably be sleeping more than you need.

The optimal solution for me has been to go to bed when I’m sleepy (and only when I’m sleepy) and get up with an alarm clock at a fixed time (7 days per week). So I always get up at the same time (in my case 5am), but I go to bed at different times every night.

After a few days of using this approach, I found that my sleep patterns settled into a natural rhythm. If I got too little sleep one night, I’d automatically be sleepier earlier and get more sleep the next night. And if I had lots of energy and wasn’t tired, I’d sleep less. My body learned when to knock me out because it knew I would always get up at the same time and that my wake-up time wasn’t negotiable.

(From How to Become an Early Riser)

Okay. Sounds good. I’ll try it.

Resolutions for tomorrow:

  • Get up at 5:30 AM (non-negotiable)
  • May have one 20-min nap
  • Enjoy a full day
  • At night,  be sensitive to body signals of sleepiness (I think this last point is crucial)

We’ll see what happens. I’m hopeful that this will work.

May God bless all of us with a peaceful, restful sleep.

Good night. Sweet dreams.

*******

Follow this Sleep Challenge Series:

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