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A review of my sleep

18 December 2012

For as long as I can remember, I have had sleep issues. I have tried various ways to fix this, but it doesn’t seem to get better. In fact, for the past few months, it seems to have gotten worse where I just wake up very early irregardless of the time I got to sleep. I have been waking up around 5 in the morning, getting approximately 4-6 hours of sleep. I know that some people can deal with that amount of sleep, but I am fairly sure that my body needs more because every time I do not get enough sleep, I feel dizzy and have headaches, basically just horrible, which is almost every day of my life. On the rare occasion that I do get sufficient sleep, I do not have headaches and I feel a lot more productive. The most amount of sleep I can get on a good night is seven hours. Looking back on a previous blog post, I wrote that one of my biggest issues to solve is sleeping, yet I have not really made any progress on it even though it effects my life in dramatic ways.

I actually have had a couple of small successes with sleep over the past few years since I wrote that blog post. There have been a few different periods where I was able to sleep for a couple of months. The first time I took a trip to Asia for 5 weeks and didn’t do any work. I was able to sleep every night 3 days into the trip. I checked email every couple of days, but I stayed away from the internet and I read lot of books while on the trip. 3 weeks after my trip and my previous sleep patterns regressed, so in total I got about 2 months of good sleep. That taught me that if I can completely avoid work, then I can sleep. I still have not figured out how to properly balance life and work as I a currently am not able to live a life without the worries of work. Another time was when I started to keep records of sleep. I used a fitbit and a myzeo to track my daily sleep. For the first couple of weeks, I had good sleep, but once again I regressed.

My current sleep pattern has actually had a large change. Previously I was unable to fall asleep, but now I am able to fall asleep in about 15 minutes. The problem now is that I am waking up too early. After waking up, I am not able to get back to sleep. Sometimes I will take a melatonin pill in the morning and get an extra 30 minutes to an hour of sleep. I believe that my sleep issues are mostly psychological, but I do not understand if my body is really tired and in pain, then why can’t I rest for longer periods of time.

Regarding the way my mind works, I believe that I constantly think about too many things. When I wake up in the morning, my mind feels like its racing thinking about what work I have and what I need to do that day. I typically check my email as soon as I wake up and then I will also read a few pages of a book in the morning. I don’t believe that this is a healthy state. I want to have my mind be in a more relaxed state in the morning. During the day, I am constantly analyzing things to a degree that I think is maybe too much. I am also trying to constantly learn new things, I am always reading books and essays on how to improve certain aspects in my life, how to think better, etc. Am I trying to do too much? Over the past 2 months, I have been studying and practicing meditation as a way to keep my mind calm.

I have come up with a plan to help with my sleep that I plan to test over the next couple of months. I will continue to measure my sleep with my fitbit and myzeo. I will also increase the amount of meditation I do, both in frequency in length. I will try to do 20 minutes a day where previously I did a few minutes every other day. I will get some blood tests to see if I have any deficiencies that are causing me to lose sleep. I’ve heard that iron and magnesium can cause sleep loss. I will avoid going online when I wake up, but I am still at a loss as to how to calm my mind when I wake up. I have already stopped most of my working at night, but I’m not sure what else I can do. I usually read at night, but I have heard on numerous occasions that sleeping at night is also bad for my sleep. I would like to continue reading if possible, maybe by reading more “light” content, but what exactly constitutes light content, fiction or comic books?