I have a confession: I really struggle with sleep. I used to pride myself on being a night owl. When I was a kid, I hated having to go to bed early, so when I was old enough to get away with it, I started staying up later and later every night. It was usually a very good book that would keep me up, since this was the age before every child was given a cell phone. Eventually, I graduated to a Gameboy Advanced (which didn’t have a screen light, so I’d have to play it under covers with a flashlight. This was done very stealthily, so as not to get in trouble for NOT sleeping – Grandma somehow always knew I was up).
My night owl personality served me fine in my late teens and early twenties. I was able to keep going, especially at parties or other fun, nighttime excursions. When I went to study abroad in Spain, I found that a ‘Friday night out’ was literally all night long. The Spaniards would be out until 8 am, the following day. It was no joking matter – they are very serious about their nightlife.
Fast forward to my late twenties, where I now have a job, responsibilities and have started to make health a priority. I hit that snooze button harder than a car crash. My morning routine consists of 3 or 4 different alarms (some of which come from different devices). After an hour of hitting the snooze button 20 times before I actually get up, I am left feeling exhausted, moody, and constantly off balance.
It’s no wonder. I am overly caffeinated, overly stressed, and don’t stick to a regular schedule. A regular schedule should consist of higher melatonin levels at night and higher cortisol levels during the day, like this image shows.
If I leave myself to sleep and wake up naturally, I can sleep 12 hours straight. That is probably a huge indicator that something is just not right. Every morning, I aim to wake up by 6 am, and I just can’t. I end up hitting the snooze button until 7:30, and then I force myself out of bed to shower and get ready for work. I arrive at work, down several cups of coffee and then I get started. The point is, I don’t feel the like the best that I can be.
However, I aim to change that as this is the year of the healthy me. I’ve managed to sort of get my diet and food under control, and this is the next task on my plate. I bought a Philips alarm clock to see if that helps me regulate my circadian cycle better. I am trying to take tips from Cassy Joy’s Fed and Fit book. She really emphasizes that before you can get any ‘diet’ right or make any fitness routine an impacting habit, you need to first get your water intake and sleep right. There is so much truth to that, especially because how can you put all you have into a work out if you’re sleep deprived or dehydrated? What difference will eating healthy make if you’re snacking because you lack energy from not enough sleep?
I’ll keep you posted on here about my struggles and success with curbing the messed up sleep schedule!