As many of you know, I received a Fitbit for Christmas- the InspireHR. This device not only tracks my steps, it also tracks by heartrate, and therefore, my sleep patterns.
Now, I get jazzed by numbers, so having all this information at my fingertips is a gold mine! I can open the app at any point and look at my hard data. Contrast and compare. See what’s good and what’s bad. Set goals.
When I first talked about this, many people said that they would be more stressed by wearing a bracelet to sleep, knowing it was tracking you. Many others thought it funny that I was getting competitive about my sleeping pattern. But these things do not stress me out: I do not get stressed by data. I think of hard, cold data as a way to make things better. Because when I see numbers, I automatically see solutions.
Once an analyst, always an analyst…
I have been able to significantly increase my sleep score. I did this by looking at my sleep number in the morning and figuring out what my pattern was the night before. I was able to isolate what things were affecting my sleep positively and negatively. Some people were interested in what I found, so here’s my personal sleep analysis.
The biggest problem I had with getting a good night’s sleep?
The nights I sleep worse are when I have caffeine after 4pm. Period. If I want to have a good night’s sleep my evening beverages must be herbal or decaf.
The next biggest issue:
Not Shutting my brain down before sleep.
What does that mean? Well, for me. I need to start getting my mind and body into sleep mode an hour or so before I actually go to sleep. The following is my perfect routine:
- Go through apartment and put away things that have been left out (this usually includes emptying the dishwasher as I run it after dinner)
- Pick out outfit for following day (this is usually gym clothes and actual clothes)
- Evening ablutions- Wash face and any grooming rituals, and moisturize everything
- PJ’s and robe!!
- Line a day journal, and I have a separate journal where I list 3 things that made me calm, 3 highlights, and 3 gratitude’s. I also write a word that encapsulates my day. If I had a stressful day I write it out. The act of ridding the thoughts from my mind actually helps
- I go over my schedule and write a to do list for the following day. I also write down anything that is on my mind in my planner. Again, getting rid of the angst and putting it on paper clears my head
- Check over emails and texts to make sure I didn’t miss anything important
- Glass of water
- Get into bed
- Put a fluffy, heated neck wrap behind my neck
- lavender lotion on my feet
- Read a designated amount.
- The goal is to not wait till the ereader falls on me because I’ve fallen asleep reading. The goal is to put it down before I am that tired. If I start to fall asleep before I am “ready” I will not have a good nights sleep.
I realize this seems crazy. It seems undoable. And sometimes it is. There are nights when I just don’t have the luxury of time to go through this routine. And my sleep suffers. My goal is to do this as often as possible.
One thing I have realized is that you should physically be tired when trying to go to sleep, but your brain can not be tired: your brain/mind must be relaxed. There’s a difference between a tired mind and a relaxed one-and that is the difference between a good night’s sleep and not. A tired brain will keep churning itself over- it will not automatically shut off because there is still too much going around and around. A relaxed brain will allow you to slowly drift off, because it’s prepared.
The last thing I noticed was that I need to keep to a consistent bedtime and wake time every day. I fall asleep between 1130 and 12 every night, and I wake between 630 and 7 every morning. My keeping to a similar routine every day, by body has formed a natural pattern.
These are the things that I noticed about my sleep and my habits. My solutions might not work for others, but they do work for me. I have the proof.
If your sleep is not as restful as you would like it to be, try to figure out why: what are you doing that disturbs you from getting qualtiy shut eye?
I know- all you non planners out there are shaking your heads. You can’t grasp that I plan my sleep… I get that- but I’m the same organized nut job when I’m asleep as when I’m awake…
I wanted to sleep better. I figured out how to make that happen. You do what’s important to you…Sleep was important to me, so I figured out a way to make it better.
What do you want to change for the better?
Disclaimer: I am recieving no compensation from Fitbit for mentioning them today. The device was gifted to me by my daughter and she used her own funds to purchase it. My familty and I have no affiliation with Fitbit or any subsidieries. All opinions are my own.