Week 2: Sleeping Beauty

Remember those awful, crabby moments? They were those times as a kid when you'd act like some crazy person, and one of your parents would say, "whoa...looks like someone's overtired." Well, my inner critic had been noticing that I'd been out of sorts for a while, and I realized it was probably time to be my own mommy, so my latest weekly challenge was to aim for 8 hours of sleep per night. For a full-on workaholic who's addicted to her iPhone, it wasn't an easy challenge. I wasn't perfect, but I did make it a priority. 

I actually got my 8 hours for 5 out of 7 days, which is fully a passing mark. The weekend was easy, for obvious reasons. Wednesday night wasn't quite 8 hours, because I had a 5 AM alarm for a morning workout, but it was close (and I was mostly rested...and wicked strong in the morning). On the only other night I didn't get 8 hours of sleep, it wasn't for lack of trying. I actually set my alarm for 8 hours after my head hit the pillow (following a gala for a nonprofit I support, Women Together), but my body was rested and getting into the routine of a 6(ish) AM wake-up call, so it woke itself up early. 

It's been a long time since my body decided to get up without an alarm (weekends excepted), ladies and gentlemen, so I'd say this week was a huge success. I even managed to continue my daily sun salutations from week 1 on most days. 

It wasn't all positive, though. I appreciated that I was honouring my body when I was tired in the evening, and going straight to bed instead of reading that last email or checking out Twitter while prone. On the other hand, I think I'd gotten so used to feeling tired all the time that I didn't notice, and I sure was starting to notice my energy dips at various times throughout the day.

Just as sleep didn't solve all my problems, the real value of this week's exercise wasn't the sleep itself, but rather the commitment to enough. I knew when I needed to get to bed, and I knew that keeping that commitment meant calling time on work, cleaning, laying the laminate flooring downstairs, Twitter, Facebook, email, and whatever TV show we were watching just to prolong the inevitable end to our downtime. And that felt good.

How did I stay on track? Being conscious and mindful of my goal helped. So did telling my husband my plan so that he could support me (and enjoy a bit of extra rest). I also used my phone to help. Do Not Disturb was my hero last year when I was training for Ironman, because I was often getting text messages after my bed time, but didn't want to change my notification settings forever. I've kept it scheduled for sleepy time since. I also used a free app, To Bed, to give me a gentle reminder that I should start getting ready for bed (the $.99 Go to Bed option figures out when to send you to bed based on your morning calendar, and may be worth trying). To see how good my sleep was, I use Sleep Cycle, and when I just can't calm my brain, I use Pzizz to help. 

This whole project is all about building, so I'm going to keep on keepin' on with my sleeping and salutations as I add on another challenge for week 3: slurping...8 glasses of water, that is. At a minimum. Realistically, I need more than that, but I'm going to start with a goal just to remind myself that I need it. And do I EVER! I've been waking up parched and needing my lip balm over the last week. It's probably the changing season, so it's good to start the habit now.