January 25, 2011

Resetting my sleep schedule

This weekend was pretty crazy in terms of disrupting my sleeping patterns, and of course Sunday nights are never easy, given that I have to be up by 5:30am to catch my flight. I didn’t even get home from skiing until about 6pm on Sunday, so that was only about 12 hours that I was in New York! And yet, I won’t be home again for another two weeks… such is the traveling consultant’s life when I alt-travel to fun destinations so much.

My New Year’s resolution to go for a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night (with the remainder absolutely positively no ifs ands or buts made up the following night) totally fell by the wayside after this weekend… but there’s no reason I can’t get back on track. How about the rest of you? New Year’s Resolutions on track?

I recently discovered this article on how to become a morning person, and found it really interesting. I used to be a night owl, and in the last two years or so have become a total morning person… but now with weekends like this I’m starting to shift back to my old ways of staying up late and sleeping till noon. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t work with my work schedule! I decided I wanted to try the little assessment they describe in the article.

Every night when I’m traveling, I aim to go to bed around 10pm… but between a combination of emails, additional work, reading, and that darn Angry Birds, I usually don’t actually go for lights out until between 11 and midnight. That’s still earlier than most, but I have to meet my team in the hotel lobby to go to work at 7:45am every day, which entails waking up at 6:45am or even 5:45am if it’s a workout day. Not good!

Apart from this ski trip, I am usually pretty good about going to bed fairly early and waking up early too. Sleeping till 9 on a weekend is a luxury for me in that I rarely do it, but I also rarely set my alarm on weekends – I just tend to wake up earlier. I have to say, I love those early morning hours when all the partiers are still sleeping off their hangovers and everything is peaceful! Any errands, cooking, or exercising before 11am feels doubly productive because they almost feel like “bonus hours” where most people (or my old self) aren’t getting anything done.

But as we move into creating a sleep sanctuary, this is an area where I’m starting to shine. A few months ago, I embarked on a failed quest to block all the electronic light in my hotel room, but since then, I’ve discovered a much simpler solution. I always keep a sleep mask in my laptop bag, in case I need to nap or sleep on a flight, but now I’ve started just wearing it to bed. No more worrying about the curtains closing all the way or the TV having an annoying red light that glows throughout the room – my eyes are covered!

One thing I don’t do, however, is create a “worry list” before I go to bed, which is something I ought to start doing. Those mental lists definitely do keep me longer than I should be awake, and it’s not until I have a gameplan for dealing with those things early in the morning that I usually find myself able to nod off.

As far as the snooze button goes, I usually do hit it and then lie there for a moment… but once it’s gone off, I usually can’t get back to sleep anyway. Of course, given that I use my phone as my alarm clock, I can’t figure out how to turn the alarm off once I’ve snoozed it, so I usually have to just bury my phone under the blankets while I’m in the shower so the beeping doesn’t annoy me when it goes off again and I can’t turn it off for a bit. Anyone with the stock Android alarm figure out a workaround to this? I suppose I should just download a different alarm.

But there is one tip in this article that I don’t do, out of sheer laziness, and should: open the curtains as soon as I wake up, to be awakened by the natural light. Heck, with my sleep mask, I should just leave the curtains open when I go to sleep! Of course, that brings up a whole other host of problems given that I’m too lazy to close them and then half of NYC/DC would get a view of me running around in a towel after my shower, or changing…

What are your favorite sleep/morning routine tips?

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4 thoughts on “Resetting my sleep schedule”

  1. I am definitely a morning person but I don’t really have any tips. I think I was just born this way šŸ™‚ I definitely go to bed early…10-11 during the week. Also having a dog helps. Good luck!

  2. I’ve resorted to creating a “worry list” the few times that work issues were keeping me awake. It was really surprising how much it helped.

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