Thursday, 15 October 2020

Science Experiment - Me!

Ok, so the sleeping/not sleeping in thing... I think I figured it out!

I think I've maybe mentioned it but I'm a sleeper.  Always have been.  I take after my Dad on that one I think, but everyone who knows me knows I am not a morning person.  So waking up on time for work is about as good as I've ever been able to do.  I have my morning routine trimmed down so that I can be up and out the door in about half an hour.  I like to give myself more time than that but sometimes hitting snooze is much more appealing.  Except this has made for some miserable mornings, and so over the years I've been trying to make things easier on me.

One of the things I've had for a while is a "wake up light" alarm that gradually brightens as the morning goes on, in theory waking you gently.  But over the years I got more able to sleep through it, or occasionally I got woken up by its very very slight initial low light... go figure.  Plus, I'd keep hitting snooze and then the light goes off eventually and, well, yeah, Winter mornings have been especially tough.

Since I've been off work I've been trying to see how I wake up naturally, and when.  And part of how I've done that is by not fully closing my bedroom blinds.  I keep them about half open.  I know.  Weird, right?  But visually anyone wanting to look into my apartment bedroom - the ony angle of clear view would need binoculars.  And, well, it's a rather boring view.  I read.  Then I turn the lights out and sleep.  (Were there "more interesting" going on, blinds would get shut! And when I change, I do so with my back to the window anyway, and I am aware of my nakedness and said windows...)

What I noticed was that I was waking up a lot easier.  (I turned off my alarm too, except on days I had to be up by a certain time).  Some nights the ambient light from outside is "too bright" and I find myself getting up and closing those blinds, because yeah, I've always been used to and felt I needed black black dark to fall asleep.  But I guess I've at least somewhat adjusted to being in a room that's not totally dark.  But most mornings now I wake up naturally around 8.  Which is pretty amazing for me, honestly.  

Over the last while though (no idea if this is a Covid-stress thing or a Summer thing or what) I've been "waking up" earlier than I'd like... like... 6, or 6:30.  I know this because I glance at the clock to see what time it is and then I don't fall back into much of a sleep.  Certainly not deep sleep.  And so sometimes lately I've had very groggy mornings where it feels like I am far too tired for the "amount" of sleep I got.  I assume it's because the light has me in lighter sleep mode and then outside noises wake  me even more and I wonder if the not-really-falling-back-asleep thing has to do with age (my folks tell me they don't sleep as well as they age...?) or what, but combine that with some mornings when I find I have to pee around 5 but don't want to wake up enough to get out of bed and then I'm not really asleep til 8 and just ... extra tired?  So this weekend, I decided to take a couple of nights with blinds down and see if I got that "sleeping in" experience I've been kind of missing.

And I did!   Saturday, blinds down got me til a whopping 9am!  And then Sunday?  Wowza, I  half woke at who knows what-o'clock (purposely didn't check the time) and when I finally "woke up" it was nearly 10!  Ten am, just like the olden days!

So, for me at least, playing around with light in the mornings, not the wake up light, but actual outside light has been an adjustment to my mornings that I think is a good one.  I, of course, don't know yet how this will play when I am back to a regular work schedule type thing but that's an anxiety producing thought I don't need to think about right now.  I know I won't ever rely *just* on light, I will be using my radio alarm again once I have a needed wake time, but (hey, hi anxious thoughts, no thanks, you can go... shhhhhhh) yeah, I'm pretty sure changing my morning light helped me "sleep in" this weekend.

And I suppose this hasn't actually been about sleep but about waking up, so.... there you go.


Jason Langlois said...

So to summarize - when it's light out, you wake up, and when it's dark out, you sleep?


Victoria said...

Hey wait you might be on to something! ;) Heh