Sleep, precious sleep…

I used to sleep pretty well, until I didn’t.

I used to fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. I thought it was a superpower, but then I was always tired. Apparently, falling asleep instantaneously was a symptom of not getting quality sleep at night, which I discovered a couple of years ago while seeking treatment for a seemingly unrelated issue.

Fortunately, I sleep much better now, the biggest helper being running an air purifier at night. (The first time I ran it, I got compliments from three people the very next day saying I looked well rested. Dang, did I look that haggard all the time, previously? Haha.)

The flipside is that now I’m subject to the same issues that normal-people-who-don’t-frequently-wake-up-at-night-due-to-allergies do.

I know that insomnia is inevitable when people are going through something, and I’ve had the occasional sleepless night stressed about one thing or the other. But it has never been as persistent as it was last month. It started with one night… and despite being tired, I couldn’t sleep the following night.

I was OK for a week, and then I got another two nights in a row of not falling asleep. I was getting super frustrated, not to mention I was keeping S up with my thrashing and sooking (no matter how quiet I thought I was being).

Now I’m on a mission to fix my sleep hygiene. I initially thought it wasn’t too bad, on closer look it was actually pretty crap.

Although I’d somehow manage to get 7-8 hours of sleep, I’d go to sleep at around 11 PM, or midnight, or even 1 AM. I’d wake up at different times each day. I feel like working from home had something to do with it – because I’d saved two hours a day from not commuting, there were less chances of me being super tired at night and being slightly sleep deprived each day.

I don’t know if it was because it was cooler then, and the days shorter, I somehow survived the past few months. But it’s summer now, and the days are longer, and nights warmer. Maybe it’s age, too. Ha! But at least it was a good sign for me to fix my sleep hygiene.

This is what I’ve been doing:

  • Waking up at 6:30 AM at the latest
  • Getting sun on the balcony until I need to start work
  • No coffees whatsoever
  • Minimal caffeinated tea in the mornings, until 10 AM at the latest
  • Exercise for at least an hour day in the sun (unless I’m doing an online class – then I try to get more sun other ways)
  • No alcohol
  • No device use past 8:30 PM
  • In bed at 10:30 PM at the latest
  • Melatonin if I can’t sleep after 30 minutes

I have to say, I like waking up early and having “me time” on the balcony. It’s pretty productive. I’ve also found that I’ve been more focused with how I spend my time, knowing that I have to start winding down at around 9 PM.

I started melatonin around two weeks ago, but I haven’t had to take any the past two days, so I’m hoping things are getting better! (I’m starting to miss coffee and late night movies, plus the prospect of not being able to enjoy a drink during the silly season makes me a little sad!)

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