Oct 21, 2012

My habit no. 1: a regular (and healthier) sleeping schedule



As I referred in another post, I’m a night owl. Yes, I go to bed and wake up pretty late! I can do this because I work from home, and I don’t have imposed schedules.

I read, in different places, about the wonderful benefits of early rising. I read about the positive experiences of those who do it, and I recently read an article saying that going to bed and waking up early (sleeping about 8 hours per night) is the healthiest thing to the body. But I also read something which contradicts this last article, by a well known Portuguese neurologist. In her book “Good sleep, good life” (which, sadly, I believe is only available in Portuguese), Professor Teresa Paiva explains a lot of things about sleep, and healthy sleeping. One of the things she says is that there isn’t a universal recommendation about what the best time to go to bed is and what the right amount of sleep is – because this varies from person to person. There are people who need to sleep less, and there are those who need to sleep more. Those who need to sleep less have a more effective sleep. And there are people who feel sleepy earlier and are energized by waking up earlier, and there are those who actually feel better at later hours and have a hard time waking up early. This is related with each person’s sleep phase.

After reading this book I was less concerned with my sleeping habits. Indeed, I’m highly energized at night, and mornings are my personal ordeal. I’m the most peaceful person in the World, until someone tries to wake me up in the morning. Ouch!

Even so, there is something I would like to change about my sleeping habits. My sleeping habits are very irregular, and I rarely manage to wake up at the time I want. I ALWAYS wake up at the last possible minute. Which means that if I can sleep just until lunch, that’s what I’ll do. Yes, shame on me. And I always wake up feeling tired and depressed...

So I think that if I could create more regular sleeping habits, and if I managed to wake up at the time I choose to, I would feel better, in the long run.

So… I want to create the habit of having a regular sleeping schedule. I will be calling this my ‘habit no. 1’ - because after this one, hopefully, I’ll be developing other great habits :P

Habit no.1:

What?

Having a regular sleeping schedule.

And these are my ‘rules’: I want to go to bed between 1a.m. and 2a.m., and to wake up between 10 a.m. and 11a.m 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. I need to sleep a lot to feel rested, and hence the 9 hour interval. But I’ll adjust this along the way. Probably, with the ‘regularity’ I won’t need to sleep so much. (Please don’t judge me for my late waking up hours o.O)

These are not strict rules, because I will allow some flexibility. Flexibility is good!

When?

I want to establish this new habit during the next month (so… from 22 October to 22 November) - starting tomorrow.

How will I motivate myself?

This is very simple. I’ll be adding a chart to the blog where I plot my sleeping hours. Oh yes! Accountability at its best :P Let’s see if this will help me!


Before I go, and to all of you who understand Portuguese, I highly recommend the book ‘Good sleep, good life’ (‘Bom sono, boa vida’). It’s very informative.

Now… Good sleep to you all! And see you soon :)


2 comments:

  1. After discovering your blog on a comment on Move to Portugal and I have been reading your posts. I totally understand your inner struggle for a healthier sleeping schedule. I have been fighting the same battle for 20 years now. Even though I work from home (therefore make my own schedules) I still keep trying to change my sleeping habits since waking up at 14:00 is not very healthy - especially during winter with only a few hours of light exposure. Took the liberty of commenting you because I sense some guilty on your words. You ask not to be judged. But I believe you are doing it to yourself before anyone else. Guilt is a negative emotion, right? Trash it, please.
    Thanks for the tip on Dr. Teresa Paiva's book - I am Portuguese so I can read it. It is weird to write in English to another Portuguese but I love to think in English.
    Keep up the good work on changing habits but, above all, on blogging.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Isabel!

      Thanks for your comment. It’s a pleasure to (unintentionally) have caught the attention of another Portuguese in a UK blog :)
      Yes, my sleeping habits became almost chaotic when I began to work exclusively from home. It’s more difficult to control sleeping habits when there is no external pressure to do so. Gladly, my decision of posting my bed and waking up hours is helping a lot.
      And yes, you are absolutely right. I am always the first one to judge myself. And hence the shame I transmitted by asking not to be judged. Thanks for remembering that guilt and shame are generally not good companions…
      I hope you enjoy the book. It was recommended by my family doctor to my mother and I ended up reading it too. I think we tend to underestimate the value of good sleep!
      And yes, it’s weird to write in English to another Portuguese, but I too love to express myself in English (even though I also love to express myself in Portuguese). I decided to write this blog in English because I was following many blogs on simplicity and frugal living written in English, and also because I wanted to practice and improve my English.

      Again, thanks for stopping by :)

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