The start of the sleep routine

For the last week I’ve been keeping a sleep diary. Each day I’ve been recording my movements in the few hours before bedtime, how well I sleep each night and how I feel the following morning. Here’s the results:

Monday night / Tuesday morning: Portuguese lesson, make dinner for me and my other half (eat late), read book in bed on how to sleep well. It has the opposite effect – I’m wide awake thinking about sleep tips when I should be sleeping, grrrr! Spend the night tossing and turning, dreaming about writing this blog! Up at 7am feeling grumpy.

Tuesday night / Wednesday morning: Lovely warm bath with lots of posh bubbles and early to bed at 10:30pm, sleep soundly all night long. Up at 6am, but surprisingly feeling fine (other half has decided to make Mondays and Wednesdays his gym before work days and I’m trying to fit in so as to keep our sleep schedules in line…I wonder how long this is going to last…).

Wednesday night / Thursday morning: Other half is out tonight so I work late (and at the same time manage to eat a whole Easter egg, not sure how that happened!). Hit the sack about 12:30am, but don’t fall asleep until after 1am as I’m planning my next day’s work in my head. Other half returns quietly at 2am….ha, I wish: lights go on, lots of stomping, teeth brushing and a garbled summary of his night (which involves him telling me the same thing three times) before he crashes out, leaving me wide awake again. Up at 7am, feeling like I had a night out, but without the fun!

Thursday night / Friday morning: Watch the first political debate on tv and stay up chatting about it with my other half. Go to bed with my head buzzing…Wake up feeling cold, other half has stolen all the covers (again!). Wake up at 7am, sleepy….

Friday night / Saturday morning: Out for dinner and one too many drinks with friends. Fall into bed at about 3am and asleep before my head hits the pillow. Wake up needing water at 8am and doze until 10:30am.

Saturday night / Sunday morning: Night in with my other half, I cook us pasta with lamb ragu a la Jamie Oliver. Out like a light at 11:00pm and enjoy a Sunday morning lie-in until about 10am.

Sunday night / Monday morning: Read the Sunday papers (well, the magazine supplements anyway) in bed. Feeling wide awake at 11pm but try to fall asleep anyway – I need my sleep for tomorrow’s early start. Fall asleep after 12pm and up at 6am, ready to start the week….maybe….

My conclusions:

  1. My sleep routine is non-existent. This is not good, according to those in the know.
  2. I get less sleep, and less good quality sleep, than I thought.
  3. Most days I wake up feeling groggy and unrefreshed.

And so to my first task: developing a sleep routine. According to sleep experts I should try to go to bed and wake up at the same times every day (which means no weekend lie-ins – eek!). Also, I should have an hour and a half wind down period before bedtime in which I do something relaxing and peaceful. The reasoning is that by establishing a relaxing bedtime routine, I am preparing my mind for sleep. Here goes……

Wonderful sleep

Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care

The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath

Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,

Chief nourisher in life’s feast.

~William Shakespeare, Macbeth

It’s clear that sleep is necessary for us all and that getting enough good quality sleep can make a huge difference to the quality of our lives.  According to sleep experts, it can make us happier, healthier, better looking and more productive.  Brilliant!

It’s also well-documented that many of us don’t get enough of this wonder remedy. Let’s face it, it’s difficult to fit in several hours of uninterrupted quality shut eye every night and work full-time, run a home, be a good partner, daughter or son and friend, keep up to date with the news, read the latest Pulitzer prize winner……and the list goes on and on. Fitting it all in and raising a child or two on the side seems like an impossibility. With endless to-do lists and the ability to work on them 24 hours a day (anyone else been up at 2am placing their Ocado order?) it’s easy to let our sleep suffer. And even when we finally allow ourselves the luxury of going to bed, exhausted, we can’t sleep or we wake in the night or we wake up feeling groggy and unrefreshed.

So, how can we attain the perfect night’s sleep, every night? With so many doctors, sleep experts, mums, next-door neighbours, etc, etc, offering their tips for getting a better night’s sleep and companies promising us our best night’s sleep ever if only we buy their bed or herbal tea, who has the time or energy to test them all out?

……Welcome to my blog, amylovessleep! I will be testing every sleep tip, trick, theory and product I can get my hands on and sharing my experiences about what actually works.

Since what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another, I urge you to join me in my pursuit of life’s “chief nourisher” – wonderful sleep!