Thursday, June 25, 2020

One Step I Took to Improve My Sleep

If you've been here any length of time, you know I have sleep issues.  When something is bothering me or even stuff that seems kind of minor can keep me up at night.  Then if I get up to go wee in the middle of the night,  I usually don't have a problem getting back to sleep but sometimes all I do is sit there thinking of all I have to (or since the pandemic, should) get done for the day.  Then I go into the next day completely exhausted, sore because my body has no actual restorative sleep and my will for getting stuff done wanes due to feeling so drained.  Then I get stuck in a wheel of procrastination because the pattern repeats.

One of my biggest problems, when I laid awake at night, was clock watching.  I'd turn on my side, lay there waiting for sleep to come, get irritated when I feel like I've been laying there for thirty minutes and it's only been five or ten.  So begins a habit of constantly checking the clock figuring out how long I've been in bed and how long I have until my alarm goes off, how tired am I going to be, why can't I sleep like I did when I was a teenager, why did I watch that B horror movie before bed, etc. 

The days of going to bed at 1 am and sleeping until 11 am on the weekends are long gone.  Usually, I go to bed at midnight- 1 am, get to sleep around 1:15-2 am depending on what I've got going on in the noggin, alarm goes off at 7 am, I assess how crappy I feel and feel ridiculously frustrated with the cycle.


In one of my Friday links, I read that something that could help you sleep is, obviously, not getting on your phone to "wind down" because we all know blue light is bad but also covering your clock.  I have an old school digital clock and when I mean old school, I mean the one in this meme.


Yep.  It still works, so why would I get rid of it just because it's old?  But yeah, that red display is what I'd squint to focus on in the middle of the night to see how much sleep I wasn't getting.

I took the advice of the article and covered the clock display.  The first few days I did feel a like trepidation because I'm so used to checking it.  It's not like I didn't have my phone beside me if I absolutely needed to see what time it was but the point was to not check the time.  While I haven't magically started sleeping 8 hours, it has helped not obsessing over the amount of time I have until the alarm.  I have done really well resisting the urge to check my phone for a time check because I know that will defeat the purpose. 

I hope to continue taking other steps like limiting myself to no liquid after dinner to attempt to get longer stretches of sleep.   (Bye bye evening decaf tea though I had some last night so...)  But this is a good first one to help not be consumed with numbers because calculating how long you've been in bed or have left will wake up your brain which is bad at 3 am.

Are you a middle of the night clock watcher?

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  1. Yep, if I wake up I check the time before rolling over to go back to sleep. I have a clock radio that is similar only with giant numbers so I can see them without my glasses on.
    My sleep has gotten much better since i completed menopause

  2. I had a doctor, who was a sleep specialist from Michigan, switch me from the clock watching/how much sleep can I get if I fall asleep right now mentality to trying to stay awake. I am still in bed, not doing anything, but instead of counting sheep, I mentally am trying to stay awake. I do not think about anything other than “stay awake”. And it works better for me.

    I also do really well trying to listen to or watch something monotone British. Chasing Churchill (BBC) has worked for me for a long time, her voice puts me out almost immediately.

    I have also done well with a nightlight, weighted blanket, white noise, and two XL twin beds instead of a king. The head of both beds are on cement blocks and that helped both of us.

  3. I am guilty of clock watching especially when I cannot sleep. It makes sense that not allowing that information about time to seep into your head when you are already anxious could help. And making yourself do any kind of, even basic, math in the sleep state would wake a person up fast.

  4. I had a clock like that (maybe that exact clock) for a long time. I don't remember if it quit or if I gave it to someone or it might actually be the one I have in my guest room. I replaced it with one that has two alarms. I am so not a morning person, I have 2 alarms on my clock and 3 on my phone all about 5 minutes apart. It's ridiculous, but getting up for work in the winter is really hard for me. I usually sleep pretty well, but I do check the time anytime I wake up and I am a clock watcher on the occasional nights that I can't sleep.

  5. I switched out my clock to a small travel clock that only lights up if I push the button, so it's completely dark during the night. I'm someone who can't have even a sliver of light or I'll obsess on it. Way back in the day, when VCR's with the jam, I'd keep a VHS tape in front of the clock at night and my mom would laugh and laugh at me. I have three sleep maskes that I alternate and use every day to block out any light, but especially in the mornings or afternoons when it's daylight and I'll find myself obsessing on what time it is because I feel like I'm burning daylight. I'm a weird one who does not use an alarm to wake up. My body just seems to know that it's 3am so the hubs is going to be getting up, and then when it's 6am and time for me to get up on the days I don't work. I'm an oddball that way.


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