Competitive Sleeping

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.