I am still working on my foundations of health posts, but as it’s the start of a new month I wanted to do a quick post on how my January goal went and what I’ve got on tap for February.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I love resolutions, goal setting, and any kind of personal challenge/self experimentation…in theory. My follow through is usually less than stellar. That’s why I decided to set 12 goals for 2014 instead of one big resolution. My goal for January was to blog once a week. How did I do? Pretty well I think! I didn’t quite hit the goal of once a week, but I was posting way more consistently than in the past, and I finally started posting some actual nutritional info instead of just my random musings. Turns out, the more substantive posts take more time to write…who knew? Overall, I’m calling the month a win, and I think it got me in the right frame of mind to keep it going for the foreseeable future. Yay me!
On to February…
My goal for this month is around sleep. Specifically, I said I wanted to be in bed by 9pm Sunday-Thursday, but I think this goal needs to be a bit revised. I chose sleep as one of my goals because I’ve been a lifelong troubled sleeper. I used to joke that I truly slept like a baby in that I woke up often and was usually fussy. This in turn, made me generally unpleasant in the morning. I think it might be genetic. My mom is notoriously terrible at sleeping. I don’t blame her…my dad snored like a freight train.
Over the years I’ve halfheartedly been working on improving my sleep. Really, I was never willing to give up my in-bed Hulu watching at night. So many times, I’d fall asleep with the computer on my nightstand watching Parks and Recreation for the millionth time (I can’t help it…I want Leslie Knope to be my best girl friend!). I’d immediately click on any link that contained steps to improve my sleep hoping for some yet unknown magical nugget that would let me sleep through the night and wake up ready to leap from my bed and take on the world. Alas, every article contained the same tips I’d heard before…and yet for some reason, my stubborn self wouldn’t let go of my bad sleep routine.
Thankfully, I recently moved in with my fella and it’s helped transform a lot of things about my sleep habits. For one, we made the unanimous decision to ban all laptop watching from the bedroom at night (alas, there isn’t really anything that stops me from grabbing the computer early in the morning after he’s gone and catching up with Jimmy Fallon for a couple of hours before work.) Secondly, he gets up waaaaaay before I do, like way before any human should have to get up and go to work, and thus has to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I hate crawling into bed after he’s already asleep, so I usually just go to bed when he does. On the downside, if I do decide to stay up for a while I usually end up in the spare room cradling my laptop to sleep…old habits die hard.
Over the last few months, my sleep has gotten better. I wake up less during the night and have much less trouble falling asleep. This only changes if I’ve had any kind of alcohol the night before, or have eaten waaaay too much sugar (night time is prime liver time). Yet, I still struggle to get up and get going in the morning. Thus, the need for a sleep makeover.
So I am going to use the month of February develop good sleep habits. As I said above, I think my original goal of being in bed by 9 every night needs to be revised. I’m pretty much already doing that, and I think making other changes would go a long way in helping me sleep better and feel more rested. Here are the steps I plan to take over the next 25 days:
- Power down an hour before going to sleep. I’m usually staring at one or more screens from the time I wake up until the time I crawl into bed. This is no bueno. Your brain needs time to power down and start producing those happy sleepy time chemicals.
- I still plan to be in bed by 9, but I’m going to read or do something else relaxing before actually sleeping. I think I’ve been sleeping too much lately and it’s making me feel groggy all the time.
- Along with not going to bed too early, I am going to get up when my alarm goes off and not hit snooze two seven times. I think this is the bigger issue here. My usual morning routine has my alarm going off at 6, me hitting snooze way too many times, getting up to feed the cat, grabbing the laptop and trying to snooze for a few more minutes while simultaneously watching something online. I usually drift off just long enough for my brain and body to settle in for what everyone is hoping will be an all day snoozefest. Then I’m jolted awake by the alarm clock once again with usually enough time to grab breakfast and put together something resembling an outfit before running out the door….usually yawning the entire way. This morning time could be put to better use by reading, working out, yoga, even watching something online while sitting in front of my happy light.
- Limit sugar and caffeine in the afternoon/evening. I think this one is pretty self explanatory…and I think the Vernors I’m drinking right now is in direct violation of this goal. Ah well, I’ll get it tomorrow J
I have to confess that I picked this goal for this month because February is short and this one is going to be a hard one for me. I’ve clung to these bad sleep habits for so long, that I’m honestly feeling a bit sad about letting them go. I’m going to miss them the way you miss an old friend. But as some friendships no longer feed your life, these habits are not helping me in the long run. I’m hoping at the end of the month, I will have a much healthier relationship with sleep.