Okay, we’re nearing the end of October, so it’s time for me to give my reader friends a recap of how my October Challenge went.
Did I reach my goal of getting 7+ hours of sleep per night for an entire month? No. But I did get 7+ hours of sleep a night much more consistently than I’ve ever done before.
Did it make a difference? Absolutely. Full disclosure: I didn’t really feel a difference until after the first week of getting more sleep. But from there on out, I’ve had consistently more energy, a more positive outlook, and have seen an increase in my ability to be patient and grace-full to others. (I’m not saying I’ve become Mother Teresa here. I’m a sinner redeemed like anybody else. But I did see a marked improvement in my capacity for patience and grace when I wasn’t physically exhausted most of every day.)
My first step was being more honest when setting my alarm. Instead of setting it at 5:30 (which is at least a good half hour earlier than I ever actually get up) I started setting it at 6:00–and recouped a half hour of restful, recuperative sleep from what was previously fitful dozing between leaps out of bed to smash the snooze button.
Second change was starting the “heading to bed” process at 10:00 instead of 11:00. Again, this comes back to a disconnect between intentions and actualities. It almost always takes me anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to actually get in bed and start trying to fall asleep, once I declare I’m “turning in for the night.” So instead of my actual sleep start time being midnight or so, it’s now more like 11:00.
Between these two steps, I recouped about an hour and a half per night of good, restful sleep, bringing my nightly average from 5-6 hours per night to 6-7 hours per night (which is right where I need to be).
A few other changes which helped:
- Cutting out caffeine after 5:00 pm. In addition to being a stimulant, caffeine is a diuretic. Needing to pee makes it hard to sleep comfortably.
- Doing some peaceful visualizations or meditative prayer when I still had racing thoughts.
- Sleeping in jammies. This one I found out by accident. This may be TMI, but I usually sleep in my underwear or underwear+the shirt I wore all day. Since Chris’ parents were guests, and Chris and I were sleeping in the living room for a week, I pulled out my jammies for propriety’s sake–and found that I had a much easier time getting to sleep. I think putting on jammies is one of those things that tells your subconscious “It’s time to sleep now.”
Now that I’m getting enough rest, I find that I have a lot more energy. Since I’m not going to be writing a novel in November, I’ve got other fish to fry with that extra time and energy in November. Will be posting my November challenge this week. Stay tuned. 🙂