It’s almost the middle of January and I’m not doing too well with the top intention I set for myself for 2011. As my yoga teacher N said last week, we should set intentions, not resolutions.When we set an intention, we commit to something now and aim to accomplish it in the present. However, when we set a resolution it is further in the future and not as likely to get done.
My intention for 2011 is to get more sleep. I’ve been trying to get more sleep the past 13 days. I’ve tried to cut back on my magazine reading at night. I’ve tried to stop surfing the internet until the wee hours. I’ve tried to meditate and stop contemplating the future when I get into bed.
I put on my sleep music and set the dial to turn off after 30 minutes, when hopefully I’ll have fallen asleep. Some nights the music goes off and I’m still awake. I know those are my menopausal nights when I’m likely not to fall asleep at all. It’s sooooo frustrating. I just want to cry out “please let me sleep.”
I’m always searching for tips on how to get more snooze time, so I was quick to scan the recent iVillage newsletter on “30 Ways To Get Better Sleep,” featuring tips from Dr. Maas’ book on Sleep for Success: Everything You Must Know About Sleep But Are Too Tired to Ask. I thought perhaps some of these suggestions might help me with my 2011 intention. Hmm, let’s see:
Determine Your Personal Sleep Quotient (PSQ) – I’m supposed to pick a bedtime when I’m likely to fall asleep quickly and make sure it’s at least eight hours before I need to get up. (Okay, I can do that. I usually get up at 6:00 a.m., so that I can go on my stationary bicycle for 15 minutes before I take a shower. The bicycle ride is part of my other 2011 intention to exercise more. Counting backwards, that would mean that I would have to go to bed at 10:00 p.m. Wow. That’s really early. How am I going to do this every night? That includes weekends too!)
I’m supposed to keep to this bedtime for the next week and note when I wake up each morning. If I need an alarm to wake up, if it’s difficult to get out of bed or if I’m tired during the day, Dr. Maas says I should move my bedtime up by 15 or 30 minutes the next week. I am supposed to continue doing this each week until I awaken without an alarm and feel alert all day. When I determine what I think is an ideal bedtime, I am supposed to cut 15 minutes off it to see if I’m sleepy the next day. If I’m sleepy the next day, I have to add15 minutes back. Then I’ll have my personal PSQ. (This is way too complicated to think about. I never get eight hours of sleep anymore. I don’t think I’ve had eight hours of sleep since I was 25 years old.)
What’s the next tip?
Keep A Consistent Sleep Time and Wake Time (I can do this during the week, but I’m not sure I’ll be as successful on the weekend. Lately as I age, I’ve started to do more sleeping in on weekends.)
Give Yourself Time To Wake Up (If I give myself more time to wake up, then I’ll have to go to bed even earlier, probably by 9:00 p.m. How will I watch Gossip Girl? Okay I admit it, I do watch Gossip Girl. And how will I find time to gab with my girlfriends and hear about all the hot happenings at my mom’s new assisted living residence?)
Get Sleep In One Continuous Block. (I’m good at this. I never set the snooze button on my alarm. I just turn it off and get out of bed…most of the time. That’s a good thing otherwise, Dr. Maas advises that I go to bed earlier.)
Make Up For Lost Sleep As Soon As Possible (If I miss some sleep on one night, I’m supposed to go to bed earlier the next night. Soon I will be going to sleep at 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon. This intention is getting harder and harder to accomplish.)
Try Napping to Pay Back Your Sleep Debt (I do love nappy time, but who has time to nap?)
Avoid Caffeine After 2:00 p.m. (Yep, I stopped drinking my Snapple and only drink water now.)
Avoid Alcohol Three Hours Before Bedtime (I do like my glass of wine before dinner. If I have dinner by 7:30 p.m. and go to bed after 10:30 p.m. then I can still drink my wine. However, I really am supposed to go to bed by 10:00 p.m. to get my eight hours of sleep. This is getting more complicated.)
Exercise Between 5 and 7 p.m. (Uh, oh. My Tuesday yoga class is from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Now what?)
Set the Thermostat at 65 Degrees (I just did that. I just turned my thermostat down to cool down my room. I’m not having too many hot flashes yet, but I do sometimes heat up at night.)
Dim the Lights (Yep, my light bulbs are 60 watt in my bedroom.)
Lull Your Eyes to Sleep (Guess the dim lights will do that job.)
Shut Out the Lights (But I always like to have a night light on. What if I have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom? My bladder isn’t like it was when I was younger.)
Cover the Clock (But how will I know what time it is when I wake up in the middle of the night? Okay, I know I’m not supposed to clock watch. Easier said than done.)
Neutralize the Noise (I keep my humidifier on to prevent dryness and it provides a nice humming noise.)
Design A Bedroom and De-Clutter the Space(I’m going to do this as soon as the decorator helps me pick out my paint colors. But, I’m not getting rid of my magazines and books.)
Dress for Rest – Or Nothing At All (I love my pjs. Nothing at all, ooh, la, la.)
Pick A Perfect Pillow and Go Shopping For Sheets (Will do when I redecorate my bedroom. Can’t wait!)
Eject the Electronics (Take out my iPod, my radio, my computer…that’s it. It’s 11:09 p.m. It’s an hour and nine minutes past my PSQ and I am supposed to eject my computer.)
Say good night Judi.