My only resolution this year was to sleep better.
I wasn’t exactly having any trouble sleeping, but I felt that a good quality sleep was sorely lacking from my life. My mornings often looked like silencing my alarm, remaining in bed for another ten minutes as I willed myself to get up and moving, and then begrudgingly getting ready for work but lacking a real sense of refreshment.
Towards the end of last year, I was even noticing a surge in blood sugars as soon as I hit the hay. Stress hormones, perhaps?
I did bring this up with my endo last year, but my blood sugars were in a really good place. I had bloodwork done with my GP last Winter that also painted a picture of good health, but brought me no closer to solving my problem.
Since January, I have been making subtle changes to my behaviour to help better support my sleep.
I’ve been making a dedicated effort to ‘switch off’ at least an hour before bed. I make a conscious effort not to stay up and push through with uni work, reminding myself that it will still be there tomorrow and that excellent organisation of my time will avoid any buildup of work.
I switch off my devices, and turn off my phone’s connection to the internet at 9pm. Admittedly, up until Coronavirus, I was really good at this and spending significantly less time on social media.
I switch off the lights and just rely on my bedside lamp until I go to sleep. I was leaving the verticals in front of my window slightly ajar to allow the early morning light to seep in. But that’s kind of redundant now that it’s still relatively dark at 6am.
In that hour before bed, I’ve been getting back into both TV series and reading – two things that I’ve seemingly lost in the past year. My latest binge recommendation would have to be This Is Us. I’m a slow reader, but so far I’ve gotten through Mark Manson’s Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** (I really don’t get the hype on this one) and the Pursuit of Happiness. Admittedly, ABC’s Coronavirus blog has since filled my reading quota and I haven’t quite managed to pick up another book since those two.
I was running the Sleep Cycle app on my iPad beside my bed while I slept. Sleep Cycle is a great app which tracks my sleep using my device’s microphone. It wakes me up in a 30 minute window, at a time when I’m in the lightest phase of my sleep and theoretically able to wake up easier. I have since weaned myself off it, as it was getting tiring having to having to constantly charge another device.
The other night, my sister walked past my MacBook and commented on how ‘orange’ the screen looked. I explained that I’m using an app called flux, which warms the colours on my display in the evenings and helps reduce strain on my eyes. Admittedly, I was breaking my rule that evening and pushed through until 10pm. Historically, this would be enough to worsen my sleep in a heavier/groggier sort of way. While flux isn’t an excuse to make a habit of working late, it did made a world of difference that night.
Admittedly, those stricter habits I was religiously doing every night in January have loosened. I sometimes leave my WiFi on until bed, and I do engross myself in my phone as soon as I wake up. I’m blaming Coronavirus for that one.
But overall, I do feel a lot better than what I did towards the end of last year. I’m sleeping a lot better, and I’m waking up a lot easier. If anything, I think my blood sugars are also more predictable overnight and those surges has subsided.
Quite honestly, sleep is just as important as the food that I eat, the activity that I do and the insulin that I take.
Its been a worthwhile investment.
I use Vitamin D and Melatonin when my sleep is disrupted as well as similar practises you have described. I noted my sleep deteriorated in the winter months and found I had low Vitamin D. At that time the improvement once I got my vit D levels up, was rather amazing; so now I take Vitamin D daily from April to September.