Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Morning Update

So, I thought I'd write and give y'all an update on my efforts to get myself out of extreme night-owl-land.

You might recall that this past spring, I attempted yet again to reform my night owl ways using the cold turkey method. The experiment was more successful and longer lived than most of my previous attempts have been, but alas, as always, I fell off the wagon after a few months and found myself back in "up all night" mode. Sigh.

So, when Courtney over at Be More with Less wrote a post entitled "A Gentle Guide to Help You Wake Up Earlier" I eagerly clicked over to read it. Unfortunately, there wasn't much new information there, or anything I hadn't already tried about a million times, and the responses from the morning people about how wonderful and awake they feel in the AM hours made me a tad bit... um... well, let's say it makes me grumpy.

But, there was one little comment by someone named Inanna that really got me thinking. The gist of her comment was that instead of trying to make herself get out of bed immediately after waking, her strategy was to make herself stay in bed doing things like reading and drinking tea for an hour or so until she felt fully awake. Now... THAT is something I have not yet tried.

Further insight came when Dar over at An Exacting Life wrote a post about her daily schedule and how she goes about carving out time for herself. What really struck me about the post was that she allocates 7 hours for sleep - which incredulously includes the time for getting ready for bed, getting out of bed etc.

Somehow reading that made me realize that I just don't sleep the way most people do. I literally cannot remember ever sleeping straight through the night... EVER. Even as a child, I always awoke at least 3-4 times throughout the night, and that pattern still holds. It's not like something wakes me up, it's just that after each sleep cycle, I seem to just naturally wake up and then have to go through the whole falling asleep thing (which usually takes 15-20 minutes) all over again.

Somehow, I just never realized that most people, if they spend 8 hours in bed, they actually get 8 hours of sleep! For me, when I figure in the time that I spend awake each night, I need to spend about 10 hours in bed to get 8 hours of sleep. Hmmm... No wonder I'm just never able to make myself stick to the kind of schedules that most people keep!

So anyhow, all of the above gave me a new approach to the whole sleep thing.

First of all I've decided that I most likely cannot change the fact that I don't sleep through the night. I mean, it's been that way my whole life, I just don't think this is something that I can will myself to do differently. So I've decided that I just need to accept the fact that in order to get 7-8 hours of sleep, I'm gonna need to allocate at least 9-10 hours of time in bed. And really, I'm OK with that. So no more self-flagellation over how lazy I am!

And secondly, I've decided to give Inanna's system a try. I don't currently have a way to make tea in my bedroom, but I've started keeping my tablet by my bedside so that when I wake up in the morning I can just grab it & spend a half hour or so reading either news, blogs or an eBook.

I have to say that the difference this has made is nothing short of miraculous! I'm not sure if it's the light from the tablet that is waking me up, or the process of engaging my eyes and brain, or just the fact that I'm no longer beating myself up with internal statements like "Get UP you lazy bum!" but it has completely transformed my relationship with waking up.

So at this point my schedule looks something like this. CatMan and I generally get off the phone from our evening chat at around midnight. I'm trying really hard to start heading to bed right after we get off the phone. It usually takes me at least an hour to get there including time for my evening ritual and finishing up any chores that I've put off, but I'm generally making it into bed by 1-1:30.

I'm now just planning on waking up several times throughout the night. I usually get up once to pee while it's still dark, and once a bit after the sun comes up to open the curtains so the kitties can have their sunbeams. Then sometime in the 10-11 region I'll wake up "for real" grab my tablet and spend some time reading before I'm ready to actually face the day.

I'm under no illusions that it will completely "stick" this time, but I do have to say that this is the kindest I've ever been to myself on this topic, and if nothing else, it's really nice not to have to beat myself with a stick every morning to force myself out of bed!

I'm still mulling over the idea of making tea in bed. It sounds perfectly lovely, but will require the purchase of some sort of electric kettle or hot water device. Anybody out there have any experience with those things? Any features I should look for or avoid?

So that's where my reform plan currently stands, and I've gotta say that it's making the dark portion of the year much more tolerable than it would be if I was still on the up all night plan. Yay!