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?

Caffeine.

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:

  1. Go through apartment and put away things that have been left out (this usually includes emptying the dishwasher as I run it after dinner)
  2. Pick out outfit for following day (this is usually gym clothes and actual clothes)
  3. Evening ablutions- Wash face and any grooming rituals, and moisturize everything
  4. PJ’s and robe!!
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Check over emails and texts to make sure I didn’t miss anything important
  8. Glass of water
  9. Get into bed
  10. Put a fluffy, heated neck wrap behind my neck
  11. lavender lotion on my feet
  12. Read a designated amount.
  13. 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.

So…

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.

59 thoughts on “Competitive Sleeping

  1. I use my Fitbit daily and I encourage all of my clients to wear one as well. Just so we all remain consistent. Consistency is the only way you can get better at something and improve in any desired area. So I am totally team Fitbit.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I participated in a study that tracked sleep and patterns surrounding it. A big focus was on routine with the underlying center point on reading prior to bed from a real paper book versus doing anything using a screen. We were assigned daily: read or not.
    I didn’t learn much from it though, my sleep patterns stayed fairly consistent throughout no matter what I was told to do!
    I do agree totally with the quiet mind idea though. If I let myself begin to think about the day at all then I can anticipate a tougher nights sleep.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s exactly how I feel. If I go to bed and my mind is replaying every detail I can’t sleep. My writing things out I feel cleansed. And the ereader thing doesn’t bother me. I just make sure it’s not very bright.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love my Fitbit for so many reasons!! And perspective of not only how I am doing physically but I really think holistically. I track sleep and it is getting better. Because I have the numbers there I have something to go on and see whether my changes in routine and even thought processes make a difference.
    Like you I do have to shut down my brain. I also love tracking my cardio score. I went from very good to excellent and I love that. This is more than just getting physical activity to improve my resting heart rate. This is also connected to sleeping better and also connected to stress control, which is learning to control thoughts and stress factors. So this is why I say Fitbit helps me holistically. I like that I can see how my life changes actually make a difference!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve worn my FitBit Alta since April 2017 and I get stressed if I forget to put it on. I’m still working on my weight so I can change how much I weigh.

    BTW … replacement bands are cheaper on Amazon versus buying them from FitBit

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m your opposite. I see numbers and I think what a way to confuse things. Best for me to trust my inner compass, acknowledge numbers, but do my own thing not because of them, often in spite of them. But *hey* carry on, my friend. I enjoy reading about your approach to life.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I have found that if I do not get outside and moving that night I do not sleep well. I think the combo of fresh air and getting my muscles working helps. I like you have a schedule and it stops me from obsessing about what I need to do the next day.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. That’s some schedule. Made me tired just reading it! I have never had a problem either falling asleep or staying asleep unless there is some huge issue going on, which fortunately doesn’t happen often. I sympathize with folks who have trouble with their sleep. My husband is one. Drives him crazy that I can fall asleep so easily.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. This is a rigorous routine you have there. If it works, that’s great!

    What I noticed is that you spend much of your just-before-bedtime time alone…I am similar. I don’t hang out and socialize with the family after a certain time in the evenings, I’m all tapped out by then. I prefer reading in bed, or even watching a show (or sometimes chatting with someone on an app) than to have lengthy social conversations with family members. I prefer the chatting with family to happen over a meal at dinner.

    Do you schedule time with your husband or daughter or do you just adjust your outline you listed above?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Introverts need alone time…my husband and I talk a lot. But while I’m doing my thing he’s walking the dog and watching tv, so our solitude works for both of us. I didn’t realize how much I needed to relax my brain until I started to delve into my sleep patterns. I’ve always done all these things, but it was more discombobulated. Now I realize having the pattern is almost Pavlovian….these things signal my brain that the day is over

      Like

  9. I juggle a few jobs this year and have some trouble with quieting my mind. I read for 10 minutes in bed and try not to think of other people’s problems. In other words, I try to do my part and then realize that I am not their mother and they have to turn in work whether online or in person. I try to go with the flow and look forward to my time off and retiring.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I turn YouTube on before I fall asleep. I have a set playlist of 5-6 videos that play. When they are done, the phone goes to sleep. I don’t always actively watch it though. I usually either turn the phone Face down or turn myself the other way. Its mostly just noise.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I wear a fitbit as well and I always check my sleep score in the morning. I’ve gotten into the habit of trying to guess it before it syncs to see if I am right. Sleep patterns change as we (women of a certain age) go through midlife and perhaps other stressors attribute to it. And who can live without sleep? I like your sleep routine, but that doesn’t always work for me because there’s a lot that pops up at the last minute in my life.

    I found CBD helps with sleep as well as melatonin. A dropperful under the tongue before bedtime and 30 minutes later, I’m so relaxed that I fall asleep – and my sleep score on the Fitbit when I use it is always more than 10 points higher! Win Win for me! Have you tried CBD? I was hesitant, but many friends were using it before me and I figured I would try it. I found a company that has 0 THC (with lab reports for evidence) that works for me and I like it. The product has the melatonin and CBD in it. Works wonders!

    If you want the website, let me know! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t have a Fitbit any more. My last one broke, and now I track steps via my I-Phone, so no sleep data. Doesn’t matter though. I sleep like a rock regardless of what I do. But I commend you for breaking yours down, and understanding what helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I was one of the people *the person* who questioned “competitive sleeping” so I have to laugh at your attention to both the numbers and your routine.
    I find that I usually go to bed between 10 and 11 but sometimes if I get a second wind, I might be up working and it feels great to be productive when everyone else is sleeping.
    I never have trouble falling asleep and sometimes wake up earlier than I want because someone else is noisy in the morning.
    I had a Fitbit addiction for many years and it was productive when I was teaching and living in Chicago. Here in the mountains, it was counterproductive because steps is only one measure and not the best one for fitness. It made me choose walking over other better forms of exercise like strength and flexibility. I only “broke up with my Fitbit” because I was out of town for 3 weeks and forgot the charger.
    I’m glad this is working so well for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like seeing how much I walk. I do weights two or three times a week and one day of yoga, and I log them into the profile. I’m also a morning person…my brain is toast after 4pm

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You have a walking lifestyle, which I don’t. I take cardio classes and the Fitbit captured those, but I found it to be a false sense of fitness for me.
        I often get a good chunk of work done in the evening because I’m not a morning person and there’s less distractions.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah…spinning doesn’t show up accurately, but it monitors my heart rate. I like knowing my resting heart rate, and my max hr, and what capacity I’m at…like in spinning my teacher will say we should get to 90% and I can monitor that. I can also judge how quickly my hr recovers. It doesn’t tell me everything, but it gives me a guide. I like it for that.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks for giving me a good chuckle… AND GUESS WHAT… I actually found myself yawning when I read all the steps, which means I will sleep well tonight. AND I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, I mean it in an amusing way… that I got tired thinking there were two many steps to think about. THANK YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I wear a Fitbit too but I must admit I don’t look at my sleep scores that much any more. I do think it’s great though that you’ve worked out how to get a good night’s sleep and a routine that’s good for you. Sleep is so important to our wellbeing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It’s always helpful to see what kinds of things work for others. I love the idea of a warm neck wrap and lavender on your feet.

    I’m well aware of the things that keep me from having a great night’s sleep. Three dogs sleeping on my bed is one of them, haha. Though I’m not willing to change that, there are definitely other things that I can do better. Good food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Although I have a routine I go through every night before my head hits the pillow, it’s not anything as lavish as yours. Like you, I stop drinking coffee by 4pm, but not because it keeps me awake. Coffee doesn’t hydrate my system. By 4pm I’m drinking bottles of water, usually get 3 or 4 bottles in before I hit the hay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be fair…I’ve always done those things at night. I’ve just now condensed it to a routine, and I start between 945 and 1030. It’s now a pattern, and the pattern is Pavlovian…my body knows as I do this that it’s time to get ready for sleep…

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I fought changing my sleep routine for ages. I’ve long naturally been a night owl & preferred writing late at night. But Himself’s job requires an absurdly early start, so an early bedtime is sensible. I used to read rather than sleep but, since moving, I’ve been getting up early too. I’m rather taken with the early morning hours & as soon as I’ve done with my post-op recovery, I’ll be back to writing then instead. I first got past the initial wide-awakedness issue by listening to sleep stories on a meditation app, which I highly recommend.

    Liked by 1 person

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