Jan: Getting enough sleep. Fail…?

Well, I say fail… I did NOT get 7 hours sleep every night this month, that much is certain. It turns out that the more you want sleep, the less you get.

The first week was tough. Despite getting to bed at some very sensible hours, winding down with low light levels (as suggested in that TED talk) and such, I found myself waking in the early hours, completely unable to drop off again. One night I gave in and read until nearly 6am! A real low point and completely out of character. I’m usually dead to all intents and purposes once I’ve dropped off.

So, I reluctantly ditched the geeky joy of the Sleep Time app, in a bid to reduce the pressure I was putting on myself to drop off. That helped. As did not reading Twilight before bed (too gripping!).

Week two was better. I stopped obsessing quite so much and got some really good nights sleep. However, I also had a couple of naughty stop-outs (couldn’t tear myself away from the dance floor), which I was really feeling the effects of by the end of the week. And indeed seeing the effects of – make-up usage was way up by Friday.

I’m coming to the end of the month now and can’t honestly say I’ve stuck to this resolution. I thought this would be an easy one, but aside from the fact that sleep is far more difficult to control than I thought, it seems I’m also much more averse to leaving a dance floor early than I thought. Not even the prospect of new-found beauty and genius can tempt me away.

What I have learned, is that 7 hours sleep is the minimum I need to function well the next day. On the odd occasions I got 6 hours or less, I pretty much dragged my ass through the next day. This amount of sleep used to be pretty normal for me, and in retrospect, so was the following day’s fight to engage brain.

I regret to say I haven’t become a genius of any description. Maybe I need 8 or 9 hours for that? The dark circles under my eyes have improved a little. I think.

What I’m taking away from Sleepy Jan is a new appreciation for the difference between 6 and 7 hours of kip, and a new determination to more consistently get the latter. I’m choosing to extract that as a minor victory from the jaws of defeat on this one.


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