Healthy Sleep Habits

April 27, 2011 – My first visit to sleep specialist, who gave me a list of ‘clean living’ things to do over the next 8 weeks. I’ve done almost all of these things at various points over the past 9 years, but this time I will do them all AT THE SAME TIME!

  • Give up alcohol
  • Give up chocolate
  • Give up caffeine
  • Give up ALL screen time after 10pm
  • Exercise vigorously for 20 minutes prior to sleep
  • Get out of bed if can’t sleep after 20 minutes
  • No going back to bed in the morning

April 27 – I decided I need time (and a glass of wine) to take this lifestyle change on

April 28 – I created a schedule to make this happen (the doc told me to take up to a week to give up the caffeine so I don’t feel bad dragging this out a few days)

April 29 – I gave up caffeine (not too hard really, my coffee was 2/3 decaf already & Coke & Sprite are interchangeable to me, no headaches reported, despite much naysaying).

I woke up at least 6 times, probably more, during the night. I felt I never really did sleep all night long.

April 30 – I gave up chocolate. Yep, booze is more important to me than chocolate. (also not too bad as I ate the last of the ice cream on the 29th & just didn’t buy anything chocolate to replace it)

I fell asleep about 1a & slept until 7a.

Oh so it’s the CHOCOLATE’S fault! Damn Damn DAMN!

May 1 –I got off the computer at 7pm & turned the tv off at 10pm (thus missing the announcement at 10:30 about bin Laden being killed. First time I have the tv off at 10pm in a decade & look what happens). I also gave up alcohol (tricky, there are 4 bottles of wine and 8 of hard cider in my house & I have to keep reminding myself not to drink it) I started some meds for my not-quite-but-almost restless leg syndrome. Side effect of the meds? May cause drowsiness.

HA! I laugh at your puny side effects!

I went to bed at 11. At midnight I forced myself to get out of my nice warm bed & go sit in the living room & read. I was physically uncomfortable now & had not been uncomfortable in bed. I ached, I was cold, my hips hurt. I could not get comfortable reading. I did some yoga & then paced in circles around the kitchen island until I felt I’d been up long enough. I fell asleep at some point after 12:30 but then was awake from 1-3 off & on before finally dropping off around 3:30 & woke up at 6:30.

May 2 – I added the nightly exercise. I did the the Prison Workout.  Ok, really I just *tried* the prison workout.  210 burpees are not happening anytime soon. 12 burpees was as many as I could manage before my arms gave up. I did some planks and some wall squats & tricep dips & then some really really slow burpees with no jumping at the end.Also? Another side effect of the meds is headaches (which may or may not clear up after a few days) I had one. It sat right between my eyes for about 4 hours in the middle of the day & possibly was allergies.

I went to bed at 11, made myself get back up at 12:30, read a bit & did some jumping jacks, went back to bed around 1, eventually fell asleep & stayed that way until 6ish.

May 3 – Had another headache, hit at the same time as the last one & lasted about as long, but this one was in the back of my head. Did mostly the same exercises as last time. I need to get that better planned.

Went to bed at 11, got out of bed at midnight, read, did some yoga, paced around the island & went back to be around 12:45. Not sure when I fell asleep but it was not long after 1:20, which was when I thought to myself “Dammit! I have to get back up again.”. I slept until 6:15 when my kids started screaming at one another about who gets the last of the Frosted Flakes.

May 4 – Brain function is down. I went into Safeway to buy taco shells & mexi cheese for dinner, found the aisle & grabbed the box. On my way to get cheese I had to walk past the meat department & then I began to wonder what I was going to make for dinner. No lie, I spent several minutes looking at the various meats, considering what was on sale & what I might make with it, or do I just want spaghetti, maybe DH could bring home a pizza. All while holding the box of taco shells in my hand. It was only through association of various ideas that I finally recalled that I was making tacos.

I had 2 chocolate chip cookies & I did not exercise last night because I did Pump at the gym & your body needs a rest. Went to bed around 11, not sure when I fell asleep but it was around 12 I think, woke up at 5, fell back to sleep woke up at 5:55, fell back to sleep & then the alarm went off at 6:40. I think I might have found the right dose for the muscle spasms as I had  none last night.

So, progress is being made. 5 hours in a row is 2 hours more than I normally get.

I also lost 2 pounds! Yay me! 5 hours sleep and 2 pounds down!

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15 comments to Healthy Sleep Habits

  • Cheri Andrews

    losing weight is a side benefit of giving up alcohol and chocolate. Hope things improve! :)

  • Lizziemade

    That all sounds encouraging, Stacey! Good for you – keep up the good work, I know it's not easy.
    Maybe I should give up chocolate too…perhaps I will lose some weight. I need to cut the caffeine – I have been waking at about 330-4am, needing to pee… too much coffee!
    Do you really find exercising late in the day beneficial? I find it keeps me awake!! It is funny how different things work for different people.
    I wish you luck and send you some cyber-willpower to stick to your plans ~~~~~~~~ (that's the cyber-willpower arriving ok?) ~~~~~~

  • Rinda1961

    What a journey you're on Stacey. I hope it just keeps working better and better.

  • Beverly

    Stacey, Glad you are seeing some improvement, hopefully you won't ever have to come to NC.

  • LosingBrownies

    5 hours of sleep and down two pounds, that sounds awesome!

  • Heather

    Well done Stacey! Hopefully all this trial & error will result in you finally getting the sleep you deserve :)

  • Linda321

    Gosh, I admire you taking the bull by the horns to improve your sleep! Good luck!

  • Alison

    Well done on the weight loss and I hope the sleep pattern continues to improve!
    Alison xx

  • Nicole Reaves

    Wow! You are amazing. I can't imagine giving up chocolate and caffeine and alcohol! Eck! Keep up the good work! :)

  • Darcy@Somewhatmuddledmusings

    Wow, Stacey – I have sleep problems, too, but I can't imagine going through all that to fix them. Mine are restless brain syndrome…once it starts, I can't quiet it down to get back to sleep – so am often up in the wee hours because of it. ((HUG)) I know what the frustration feels like!

  • Carrie/scrapchick

    Glad to hear you are getting more sleep! Those few hours sure can help – that's almost double! :)

  • Comfy Mom

    I have a similar problem. I can't get my brain to stop talking. That's what some of the no tv, do exercise, get out of bed stuff & the cognitive therapy later is supposed to help. The rest of it now is to give me a 'clean slate' as it were for the therapy to work on.

  • Comfy Mom

    Yeah, it's not been fun. I want a glass a wine & some chocolate really bad some nights,

  • Comfy Mom

    So far it's been useful. The exercise thing is a new thing they are suggesting for long term insomnia like mine. I guess they want me to go to bed really exhausted. :)

  • Comfy Mom

    I'm pleased with it, though sometimes i wish is was 5lbs down & 2 hours of sleep. :)