Getting a good night sleep is something so essential that most of us aren’t getting enough of it. It’s said that adults need somewhere between seven to nine hours of sleep a night, and that number varies then for babies, young children, and even teenagers. [Though personally, I think teenagers could survive on seven to nine hours of sleep as well. It’s simple—rules and structure—homework is done before say eight at night, their phone turned off [and taken away if needed]—buy them a good old fashion alarm clock to wake them in the morning; and if needed take away all power cords for any electronic that they could think of playing with—in other words bore them to bed].

Alarm clock

So the week two challenge is trying to make sure that I’m getting enough sleep (ideally seven to seven and a half hours) daily. I also realized that this challenge is going to take a little bit longer to get control of compared to the week one challenge (drinking enough water), so I decided to try to give myself a month (more or less) to at least get a grasp on my current sleep schedule and try to figure out how to get it on a schedule.

Currently I usually go to bed between 9:50 and 10:30 every night (doesn’t matter if it’s a work night or the weekend) I’ve never really been much of a night owl; the trouble is my waking time (during the week it is 5:45 [with an alarm], but on the weekends it can be anywhere between 8 and 10am). So obviously something needs to be changed and or fixed to ensure that I’m getting a good solid seven hours of sleep.

The five steps that I’m trying to take to make sure that I’m getting a good night sleep:

  1. Looking at my fitbit sleep data & trying to see if there are similar times that I’m tossing & turning (or awake) and can I determine why?
  2. Making sure that I’m working out after work, but before dinner (as this should make it a good four hours before bed).
  3. Logging all foods (especially afternoon & any evening snacks) to make sure that they aren’t messing with my sleep schedule.
  4. Try to finish my decaf herbal tea by 8:30 every night
  5. Decide when to try to start going to bed (roughly at the same time) and getting up (roughly at the same time) daily.

So how am I doing with each step as of today:

Well, I’d mentioned earlier that I’d gotten a fit bit alta last fall after losing the plastic opener for my fit bit zip (couldn’t change the battery)—but now I’ve found it again [isn’t that life]. One thing that is neat is that it more or less can help track your sleep patterns (tossing and turning, getting up to go to the bathroom (or get a drink of water), and when you are asleep).

One thing I’ve noticed is that amount of time awake (or tossing and turning) can vary greatly—anywhere from barely five minutes to almost an hour or more lost due to tossing and turning). One of the main things I can think of right now that has me tossing and turning is stress (we’re looking at having to put one of our dogs down next week due to her cancer either spreading or not responding to the chemotherapy). Also I was keeping the room rather cool when sleeping, and that also might have played a small role in the tossing and turning (or more accurately trying to burrow further under blankets).

For the most part I’m managing to do a workout daily (starting back easy with a online program from Beachbody [review to come once I’ve finished it]). Also during the week I’m usually on my feet quite a bit at work, so I’m managing to get in my steps (trying for at least 14,000 a day)—still have to work on that for the weekend though).

Logging the food is touch and go at times (mainly because I don’t do it right away [I usually do it after the three main meals], but I can admit that for the most part I’ve been good at trying to stay away from the sweets in the afternoon (especially after say three o’clock).

Trying to finish the herbal tea by 8:30 at night is difficult mainly because there are times when it is almost 8:30 before I have the time to try to make the tea.

I’m actually going to use this weekend as a test to see how I can handle getting up with an alarm on the weekend (it will be a little later than my normal alarm, but still much earlier than when I would get up without an alarm).

Another goal I need to work on is to create a space within my room that I can work on my computer and other things, that isn’t my bed (which is where I sit [or lounge] to do a lot of things in the evening and on the weekend). That way the bed can then be back to its main designated purpose—sleeping.

Who’s sleepy???

So I’m getting a little closer to being able to say that I’m getting somewhere between seven and eight hours of sleep a night. These are the little baby steps that are needed to make things stick and last. These little changes are the things that are going to turn into automatic habits, which will then unconscious deeds done during the day and night.