Evening Luddite (My systematic approach to fixing sleep)

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Evening Luddite (My systematic approach to fixing sleep)

Post by Bushranger » Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:18 am

My sleep has always been an issue and continues to be one of the biggest problems in my life. It’s not that I can’t sleep, far from it. I sleep quite well when I get to sleep but the problem is getting to sleep in the first place. My mind runs riot into the wee hours of the morning and I sit up watching either mindless garbage on TV or aimlessly surfing the internet.

I know sleep is important. I know a regular sleeping time and routine is important. I am well aware of the evidence supporting night sleep and pre-midnight sleep also. Yet it continues to elude me after all these years.

I have finally decided enough of this foolishness. TV and the internet have robbed me for too long. But how do I overcome this problem? I already know the elimination of TV and the internet will bring about effective correction of sleep issues. The few times I have tried going evenings without them I always end up sleeping earlier. With an effective way to track this though I feel success will be much more likely. With my success on shovelglove and the great simple but effective approach of all the everyday systems I can’t fail!

I have created my own version of Weekend Luddite. I call it Evening Luddite. Here is how it works:

1. TV and the internet goes off at a set time each evening.

2. It gets marked on the HabitCal as either a success or failure.

3. It will be run in multiple stages; each stage will be a specific time. The idea is to reduce the time gradually because I know jumping straight to my final target will be impossible to succeed.

Evening Luddite begins tonight for me.
Stage 1 – 12 midnight.

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Post by reinhard » Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:11 pm

Sound great, Bushranger. Regular sleep should be the foundation on which all your other habits are built.

My "living alarm clocks" wake me up so early that I pretty much collapse around 10:30 PM, but I had the same tendencies you describe prior to fatherhood.

If you're having trouble falling asleep, I've found that audiobooks are great. They knock me out in minutes, tops.


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Staying asleep? The 3 am wakeup...

Post by trisham » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:48 pm

How about staying asleep? I'm probably in the older lady waking/worrying at 3am phase of life :( , but wondering if anyone has any thoughts about this?

I have no trouble getting to sleep, especially with no violent tv or computer, and quiet reading for a while, but have such trouble sleeping through the night.

Any thoughts? Any noS things that make a difference? I have heard no alcohol makes a difference, but haven't noticed that helps me much.

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Post by Thalia » Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:15 pm

Some things that supposedly help include having a consistent sleep schedule, getting regular exercise early in the day (late exercise actually makes it harder to sleep), keeping the room super-dark, and keeping your bedroom nice and cool, almost on the chilly side (with blankets to cover up with). I think some of that really is just aging, though, and there's only so much you can do. :(

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Post by Bushranger » Tue Jul 28, 2009 3:16 am

If you wake up naturally during the night (and it's not just a toilet break) then perhaps staying up for a few hours and doing something is worth trying. Pre-industrial era people slept in 2 sections during the night and often did a few hours' chores, knitting, whatever at the middle of the night.

The biggest thing you should focus on is not actually caring that you wake up. Social ideas about normal sleep are hardly ideal and a lot of peoples sleeping "disorders" are only because medical types choose to label them as such. It is this very labelling that drives the problem as the anxiety regarding it being a disorder does nothing but make matters worse. If you can get enough sleep even in segments and you feel refreshed enough then it really doesn't matter much if you wake up for a bit. Good luck with it.

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Post by Bushranger » Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:44 am

Evening Luddite is going exceptionally well for me so far. I am getting up earlier in the mornings now due to work and life and am starting to feel very tired going to bed at midnight. I find when I turn everything off I go to bed almost immediately afterward and read for a bit. I certainly don't sit up being bored for 2 hours like I would have if I left the TV and the Internet on. Tonight I shall be starting the second stage in my strategy.

Stage 2 - TV and the Internet go off at 11pm.

This is late enough that I can still catch most evening movies if I wish. This is important to me since cutting into these would be too much of a change at this early stage in Evening Luddite.

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Post by gratefuldeb67 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:09 pm

Good for you! :D
There is no Wisdom greater than Kindness

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Post by chiangmaiboss » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:37 pm

I have very strange sleep habits and would not be good for most people. First of all I always go to sleep with dvds playing. They are always either comedy shows like Friends or The Office or cartoons and always ones I have seen many many times. If they are new ones I stay awake listening to them.
I usually go to bed about 9 or 10 pm but always get up in middle of the night and eat. Usually I eat vegetables like corn or else sandwiches made with either tomatos or sardines or mackerel and sometimes boiled eggs. Usually I eat it with the spicy chilli they have here in Thailand. Then I usually wake up about 430 or 5am. Altogether I sleep maybe 4-6 hours a night, but sometimes I take a nap in afternoon. This works out well for me and I like it but most people find it strange.
Chiang Mai and Nakhon Sawan, Thailand

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Post by pirateman2k » Fri May 14, 2010 4:03 am

1. If you spend a lot of time playing online, setting a scheduled task to shut down the computer is helpful. (Windows: use the "shutdown" command with the appropriate switches). Mine has a 30 minute "lead" time so I have plenty of time to wind down. I just implemented this 3 weeks ago and it's been quite helpful.

2. If you read or watch TV, setting a "bedtime" alarm (regular clock alarm or whatever) can help.

3. Get in a habit: have a glass of wine, water, milk, or cup of tea, clean the kitchen, unmake the bed and gear down the same way every time.

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Post by kccc » Tue May 18, 2010 3:04 pm

I am also in the wake-up-at-3AM camp... though less often than I used to.

What helped me the most is just to stop PANICKING over it! I used to wake up and think "Oh, no! 3AM!! Disaster!! I have GOT to get some sleep!" Then I'd stay awake until almost time for my alarm.

Now I think "Oh, good, it's only 3AM. I can go back to sleep for hours before I have to get up." And I (usually) do.

A transitional step that helped was to listen to a Zen podcast when I woke. My favorite speaker has a very soothing voice, and the content distracted me from obsessing over the-little-worries-that-loom-large-in-the-night. If I went back to sleep - super, that was the point! If I didn't, I got to do something that inspired/informed me and lowered my stress. I considered either outcome a "win." (Note: I do not allow myself to listen to those same podcasts while driving anymore, since I associate them with sleep.)

Also, one of the issues with 3AM waking is that it's too late to take a sleep aid - you'll need to be up before it wears off. I didn't want to take them at the beginning of the night "just in case" because taking them unnecessarily scared me - I was worried about becoming dependent on them. My doctor suggested that if I went 3 nights in a row with broken, insufficient sleep that I take one at the beginning of the night on the 4th night. However, one good night's sleep re-set the count. That approach would allow me to use sleep aids if I needed them, but keep me from potential dependence. As it turned out, I never needed to invoke the "after three nights" rule, but just having it in place helped me to relax.

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Post by Too solid flesh » Thu May 20, 2010 7:28 pm

reinhard wrote:If you're having trouble falling asleep, I've found that audiobooks are great. They knock me out in minutes, tops.
My mother finds unabridged Jane Austen audiobooks perfect for falling asleep to. I doubt that this was what Jane Austen had in mind.
“Be kind, for everybody you meet is fighting a hard battle.â€

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