The one problem that I have been trying to solve for the better part of last year is why I often find myself feeling so tired.
Despite getting a solid 7-9 hours of sleep each night, I was waking up most mornings feeling like I had gotten a lot less.
Part of me wondered whether it was just the relentless nature of managing diabetes, on top of everything else going on in life, that was taking its toll on me. This culminated a few months ago when I lost my appetite, and just sank onto the couch after work one afternoon feeling run down.
Of course, my subconscious jumped to all sorts of conclusions. Is it anaemia? Another autoimmune condition? I’m overdoing it. Or maybe it’s just the relentless nature of diabetes management on top of life. Stop being stupid – you’ve been managing your diabetes quite well and besides – you haven’t even had it for that long!
I did pay a visit to my doctor expressing my symptoms in a bid to put my mind at ease. He organised some bloodwork, which all came back fine.
After turning to Dr. Google, the words how to wake up feeling refreshed eventually led me to an app called Sleep Cycle.
No sooner than I had started using it, it truly changed my life.
The concept is pretty simple. During the night, the body goes through several cycles of roughly 90 minutes where it transitions from light sleep to deep sleep and vice versa. Case in point below.
While I’m in bed and the app is running, Sleep Cycle analyses my sleeping patterns using the microphone on my device. Sleep Cycle wakes me up within a 30-60 minute window set by me, when I’m in the lightest phase of my sleep.
I have used this app almost every morning for the past two months, and it has been a true game changer. Waking up is much, much, much easier than it once was. Sleep cycle is waking me up earlier than my alarm clock once did, and I’m feeling far more refreshed with less sleep than before.
One of the more surprising things I noticed almost instantly was an improvement in my mood. I don’t think I realised just how snappy I was getting until I wasn’t anymore. I also found I had far more concentration and focus during the day.
I’ve been running Sleep Cycle on my iPad so that I don’t drain my phone battery come morning. I’ve also been trying to get to bed at the same time each night, and trying not to sleep in longer than an hour on the weekends.
After two months, I feel that Sleep Cycle has definitely helped me to ‘re-calibrate’ my sleep. I often find myself waking up more naturally, anticipating Sleep Cycle’s gentle alarm. I’ve recently stopped using the app on weekends and I still find myself waking up fairly easily. Once I settle into a bit more of a consistent bedtime routine, I think I could make do without it for good.
It’s definitely easy to overlook sleep when my diabetes management feels far more important. I know that sometimes, my blood sugar levels have other ideas come bedtime. But when I’m managing a condition that demands a great deal from me, I need to be able to function at my best.
Combined with more substantial eating to match my energy expenditure and ongoing self care efforts, this is where my focus has been over much of the past year.
I can honestly say that I physically feel the best that I have in some time.