Saturday 12 March 20126 – Day 5 of Walk in her Shoes.
**1 of 12:** According to my Fitbit I was only awake/restless for 18 minutes of the 8 hours I was in bed last night. I can assure it that its calculations are wildly inaccurate, as I was awake for most of the night. I just didn’t move enough for it to register.
I don’t know if my night time waking, which I rarely experience when I go to bed at midnight or later, is because I’m not well or because I’m going to bed before I feel fully tired.
Getting up earlier so I can walk in the mornings, which is a habit I had been working on even before Walk In Her Shoes, is something I want to keep doing. But to make sure I get enough sleep, I need to get myself to bed a lot earlier than midnight. Regularly, not just one or two days a week. Five hours a night really isn’t enough.
My past experience with going to bed earlier has been similar. I haven’t slept through the night and have ended up feeling worse than if I’d gone to bed later and slept through. I imagine that possibly my body has trained itself to go to bed at midnight and only get 5 hours sleep or thereabouts, and doesn’t know what to do when the opportunity is there for more sleep before midnight. (As opposed to more sleep after midnight, as it’s entirely possible for me to sleep in until 7 or 8 am with no problems.)
If that’s the case, then I have to unlearn it and learn a new pattern, where 10 pm (or whatever) is the new normal. I’ve read that adjusting your bedtime by 10 or 15 minutes a night helps you to do this. That makes sense, and maybe I’ve been trying for too big a change too soon. But being sick this week has meant I need more rest than normal, so the change has been forced, big and sudden rather than slowly introduced.
Having said that, one of the triggers to changing a habit that Gretchen Rubin writes about is the “lightning bolt”, where something happens that can kick start a new habit immediately. For example, when you get pregnant you might be able to kick unhealthy habits you’ve been trying to stop because there’s a sudden imperative to do so. So rather than go back to my late bedtime and wind them back gradually when I start to feel better, now might be a good time to start telling myself that the new earlier bedtime is my bedtime.
I have no idea if this will work. I hate waking in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep. If that keeps happening I don’t think I’ll be able to keep it up. But . . . as I have an opportunity right now to try it out, I might as well use it.
I’ll be my own guinea pig!
(12 of 12 to be continued . . .)