I am NOT a morning person.

I am also an insomniac. In an attempt to regulate my sleeping schedule and embrace the creativity that comes with early-morning writing and generally be super cranky for 30 days, this month’s Wake Up Every Morning Before 8am had disappointing results. Meaning: I actually slept less and not more. I’d be worn out from a long day, and still be up until 1am or later (even when retiring to bed by 11pm) and still have to wake up by 8am. Not to mention, this last week we had painters come EVERY morning by 7am. SEVEN. I was exhausted and cranky and unmotivated and uncreative and felt lethargic for most of February. I know how important sleep is, and I’ve tried every trick in the book (there’s no TV in our bedroom; I read before bedtime; I drink tea) and I’ve tried several different drugs. (let me tell you about the time I took 2 Simply Sleep pills before an international flight from Germany and was WIDE AWAKE the entire trip. FML.) On top of all that, I have TWO separate sleeping problems (well, three if you count the asshole cat that wakes me up at 3:30): going to sleep and staying asleep. It’s one, the other or both on most nights… that I usually make up for by way of afternoon naps on my days off and a night or two a month of dead sleep for 10-12 hours (from pure exhaustion, I’m sure).

The only time I felt rested this month was in California — which, shocker, is closer to my regular sleep patterns considering Pacific Time (I was asleep by 11pm every night and up by 8am — and OUT THE DOOR with really shitty hotel coffee, doing things, by 9am). And if you’re thinking “it’s vacation, of course you slept better.” Not so fast… I had derby responsibilities nearly EVERY day on our trip, so it’s not like it was a no-schedule-free-for-all. Plus, there was a lot of drive time and no sleep in the car (since I was mostly an anxious passenger).

I have to accept that I just might not be on the same schedule as the “average” 30-something. Those two extra hours of sleep are imperative to my well-being. So this 30-day challenge* was a lesson in listening to MY body; not what society thinks is the “right time to be up-and-at-’em.” Also: ear plugs are a MUST. This is a new discovery, thanks to an awesome care package I received.

Do you have your own sleep challenges? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

*I used two days from the end of January to make up for the short month. And to be completely transparent, I missed two days — one, the day after vacation, I woke up at 10am; two, the morning after a couple margaritas, I woke up at 9am. I gave it the ol’ college try!

Next up: NO SUGAR FOR 30 DAYS IN MARCH. *gulp*

Read more:
My year of 30-day challenges.
January Success: No Alcohol for 30 days!

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  • Fox

    For me, staying asleep is the hardest part. I’ll be so exhausted that I fall asleep when I’m trying to read (even something I’m really interested in!), but then I’m up hourly. I recently bought a FitBit, which tracks sleep as well as calories/activity/etc., and although I know I’m not sleeping well, I was shocked to learn that I wake up 15-25 times a night, depending on how long I’m in bed. Sheesh!

    Haven’t found a solution yet. I tried a white noise machine, but (since I’d rather spend money on wine and travel) I bought a cheapie one that has a really cloudy sound, so I don’t know how much it helps. No TV in the bedroom (I’m totally Carrie Bradshaw about this), no caffeine at night. Putting WQED on the radio before bed seems to help a bit, but the sad flugel horn solos do wake me up at 3am on occasion.

    Funny enough, when we go to CA every year, I also feel like I sleep great. (It’ll be interesting to see next month, with the FitBit actually measuring wake-ups, if it’s accurate.) But in wine country, everything shuts down (and everyone is drunk) by like 8pm. And then the beach is just perfect at 7am, so of course I want to get up for yoga and beach walks! On the other hand, when I was a CA resident, I did *not* feel rested all the time. But that was Los Angeles, and not SLO County, and I had a job and all that nonsense lol.

  • themoderngal

    Funny to be reading this now — it’s 3:40 a.m., and I’m here because I woke up and couldn’t fall back asleep. Insomnia used to be a much bigger problem for me, and I think it had to do with my anxiety problems. I seem to have the anxiety problems better under control, but I still occasionally have the sleepless night. Also funny to be reading this because I gave up sleeping in for Lent. For the most part I have been going to bed earlier though, since that hasn’t really ever been my problem.

    I don’t have many ideas on what works. My therapist used to tell me to try to deal with whatever was racing through my brain when I woke up. Since it was usually work, I’d get up and work for an hour or two and then usually be able to fall asleep. Doesn’t necessarily fix the problem, but I’d feel better about sleeping in a little knowing I’d already tackled some work for the day.

    • Mel

      That’s the thing… there’s not really much going through my head. Just that I CAN’T SLEEP. Weird.