Sleep: the war wages on

Posted on: 3 April 2023

In February I shared how my attempt to improve my sleep was going so far this year. TL;DR: not great. I pondered my hang-ups and set some targets to improve things. Now, at the beginning of April, I'm checking in on the first quarter of the year.

As a reminder, in January I had 20 OK bedtimes, 10 bad ones and 1 danger-zone. In summary: nothing before 11:15pm. Check the key in the original post for timing definitions on the below ratings.

My progress in February

Rating Days
Excellent 0
Good 6
OK 20
Bad 1
Danger zone 0

Improving. But still a tonne of past-11pm bedtimes. I was still very much treating 11pm as the target and then falling slightly (occassionally significantly) short.

The 10:30pm digital curfew was tenuously stuck to, but improved once I enabled Focus Mode and blocked out offending apps on my phone.

My progress in March

Rating Days
Outstanding 1
Excellent 4
Good 7
OK 17
Bad 1
Danger zone 1

Better still. I even had to invent a new time category: Outstanding (10:00-10:15pm).

I had a mini-breakthrough towards the end of March: 11pm should not be the target. 10pm should be the target; the holy grail. I know I'm never going to hit 10, at least not for a while, but beginning to wind down then is the key.

For the final 8 days of March, 6 times I managed a bedtime of 11pm or earlier.

My demons

As with anything worth having in life, you generally can't flick a switch. Meaningful change takes struggle and effort. Especially if it means changing a core personality trait.

I am still my most animated self in the evening. My most creative self. But that's not to say I can't change, maybe even discover a better me in the morning.

Now I tell myself I want to be the person who goes to bed early. Staying up late is so entrenched in my psyche that being in bed at 10.30pm feels like I've cheated the system. I feel smug that I've outsmarted myself somehow. I need to bottle this feeling and use it to convince my brain to reprogram an old habit.

It's going to be hard

Despite seeing progress at night, getting up has been just as hard. I've not made any substantial changes here in terms of wake-up, and I've not felt any difference in how I feel.

But I'm not expecting it at the moment. I recognise that this is a gradual shift.

Three quarters the year to go

So where does that leave the rest of 2023? I've had a mini-breakthrough in the fist quarter, but can I stay the course? Who knows, but I'm excited to try.

My next check-in will probably be at the end of June. Wish me luck.

Tags: sleep