Friday, March 2, 2012

Better Life Challenge #1



Happy Friday Dear Readers,

As many of you know, I have a tough few years ahead as I attempt to achieve several big goals in my life. Some of these goals are mentioned here.

In order to do this and not burn myself out, several things have to change. I've decided to tackle one of these changes each month--let's call them "better life challenges". Maybe some of you would like to take on these challenges with me, or come up with some of your own.

Some of these changes I've attempted before, but not with any lasting success. The ones that are the most difficult are the ones that are the most contrary to my nature, but until I'm living the life I want, they are necessary.

The first challenge may also be the hardest. March's Better Life Challenge is....

Get More Sleep.

I've written about this before. I'm a notorious night owl. I think sleeping is the biggest waste of time, so I put it off as long as possible. There is always something more interesting to do. But since I want to wake up at 6 a.m. each day to work on my novel, getting to bed at 2 a.m. isn't going to cut it.

Lack of sleep definitely contributes to burn-out. It makes me tired throughout the day, and it's more of a challenge to get to the gym. It drastically affects my energy levels, and it could be cutting my life short...who knows? All I do know is that I feel better when I get eight hours of sleep or more each night.

So here's the challenge defined: for the month of March, I will go to bed at 10 pm (10:30 at the very latest) each night of the weekday. I'll report back if I'm noticing any difference in my life, or if I'm struggling to stick to it. If it works out well, I'll try to keep it going past March.

On the weekends, I'm going to be more lax, but I'll still try to get to bed before 4 a.m. so I'm not completely wrecked the next day.

Wish me luck! What is one thing you'd like to change about your life this month? Do you get enough sleep?

15 comments:

  1. "I think sleeping is the biggest waste of time, so I put it off as long as possible."

    Might I suggest that instead of thinking of sleep in that way, consider it instead as giving your body the resources to do the work it's intended to do? Recovery is every bit as important as the work that drives you to need the recovery, if that makes any sense.

    While you're sleeping, your body and mind are still very much at work. http://www.livescience.com/5820-sleeping-helps.html

    Good luck in your journey!

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  2. I'm trying, Kirsten, I'm trying! :) I understand the need for rest days during training, but I still scrimp on sleep. I know, it doesn't make sense. That said, when I worked from home, I got plenty of sleep because I could set my own hours. I'd rather work through the night and sleep later in the day. Changing one's biorhythms is challenging, to say the least.

    Thanks for your comment, and for the luck...I need it!

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  3. Oh my goodness Holli, I struggle with the same fight! I'm such a night owl and hate the idea that the day is done. But I too suffer if I stay up later than I should and then I wonder, what for? Did I really get anything productive accomplished in that time? Likely not. I just never like to admit the day is done.

    I grew up in a family that never went to bed early so it just became a bad habit, and now it's so hard to break. Speaking from experience though, after about 3-4 days of having a good night's sleep, you end up feeling SO good! Energy levels are high and you're more alert than ever, and you end up with great workouts too.

    Having said that, I still struggle with this each and every night, I look forward to when it is less of a struggle and more of a habit!

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  4. Whoops, Unknown above is actually Kathy :)

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  5. Hi Kathy,

    Welcome back to the blog! It is great to see you here again. I didn't know you were a fellow night-owl. Why do we schedule our get-togethers for so early on a Sunday?

    I don't even try to fool myself that I'm going to be productive during that time. The late night hours are my downtime, my alone time, my time to read or whatever. I do miss them when I no longer have them--I need to sneak in some time for myself somewhere.

    Do you want to take the challenge with me? One month could change your life, so they say. :)

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  6. Ah, glorious sleep. Before I discovered women or 30 year old tawny port, I used to say that I had three favourite things in life: eating, sleeping, and spending money. Unforseen side-effects have caused me to curtail two of those over the years, but sleep remains a much-loved and decidedly non-guilty pleasure of mine.

    I have a 5 Second Theory (named after the length of time it took me to come up with it, so take it with a grain of salt) that says people who live slowly and gradually will outlive those who live quickly and actively. Sleep is the ultimate relaxation and stress-reliever, so it follows that the more sleep you get, the longer you'll live. There's nothing quite as soothing as drifting off under warm blankets on a cool evening.

    As for a monthly goal, mine is to eat healthy during the day Monday through Friday, and limit junk food consumption to Friday night and the weekend. If I can manage that, I'll look at cutting down the junk food time even more. But even going Mon-Fri would be a huge step for me.

    Good luck with your goal, and wish me luck!

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  7. Sleep - can get down with that! I'll join you on that one Holli. Let me know how it goes...I'm wishing for a better morning attitude so I can enjoy the little man when he is at his best - first thing (which is when I am at my tiredest!)...my goal is before 11, preferably by 10:30...gives me 15 minutes to get the dogs tucked in...!! :-)

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  8. Thanks for your comments. Chris, good luck with your goals, and know that I'll definitely support you on that. I'll say nothing about your theory. ;)

    MM, thanks for joining the challenge! Let me know how you do. So far, I've been going to bed quite early for me--at about ten each day, and I've found it difficult to get a good sleep. I've been sleeping very lightly, waking up often, and finding myself exhausted in the morning. But I hope it will get better!

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  9. Hi Holli,
    I wish you the best with this challenge. I love my sleep and my problem isn't that I don't go to bed early enough (I am often in bed before 10:30 and asleep by 11:15 at the latest). My problem is staying asleep. I will wake up at 2:00 in the morning and then feel wide awake.(!!)
    I am working on relaxation techniques. I don't eat or drink caffeinated drinks after 6:00.
    After about three nights of this I will have a deep and restful sleep - probably because I am so exhausted from not sleeping great on previous nights.
    This is my mother's pattern as well and I wonder if it's just in my genes...

    Still working on staying asleep, Lisa

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  10. @Lisa:

    There's a school of thought that says that the way you and your mother sleep is actually the natural way that people tended to sleep before artificial lights imposed unnatural sleep patterns upon us:

    http://www.lifeslittlemysteries.com/1109-bustin-the-8-hour-sleep-myth.html

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  11. Thanks for your comment, Lisa--welcome back!

    I've been having this issue, too. So far, I've been able to stick to my sleep goals everyday except yesterday (yesterday I really blew it). The problem is that the earlier I go to bed, the lighter I sleep. I'll wake up at 2, convinced I've slept for hours and hours.

    This month has been very tiring so far, and Daylight Savings hasn't helped.

    Thanks to your response to Lisa, Chris.

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  12. @Chris - What an interesting concept! That is totally me. My circadian rhythms are very strong. Maybe I'm not as abnormal as I originally thought.

    @Holli - Yes, I've been sporadic the past couple of months - work is BUSY!!!! Catching up my fave blogs is a luxury that happens less often than I'd like..;(

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  13. No worries! As you can see, my posts have been sporadic as well. Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging...go figure.

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  14. No, I definitely don't get enough sleep and I have been thinking a lot about how many of us writers talk about our insomnia. Why can't we sleep? Stess? Expectation? Balancing day jobs with writing? All of the above? I know it is for me.

    BTW: I have tagged you in a Lucky 7 Meme - come on over to arielswan.blogspot.com and check it out. Maybe it will bring you good luck in achieving your goals.

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  15. Thanks for your comment, AM! I normally stay up late by choice, but lately I have struggled with insomnia as well.

    Perhaps it's that our minds are too busy, and we have a hard time shutting them off in order to get some rest. That's what has been happening to me lately.

    Thanks for the tag. I will definitely check it out! Sleep well. :)

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