Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Tool to Go to Bed Earlier

I have a bad habit I've been trying to break for years: going to bed late. Even though I know I'll feel lousy as the week goes on, and give myself every good reason to go to bed, I don't do it. I don't have much excuse except that I'm wide awake at 10, 11, and midnight, and later if I stay up. I wonder how I could have been so tired six hours earlier and tell myself I'm not sleep deprived if I feel fine. Twelve hours later, I'm telling myself I've got to get to bed sooner.

It started in basic training, where you supposedly go to bed at nine and get up at five, but in reality it took until eleven o'clock to get everything done. In college, there weren't enough hours in the day to go to class, go to work, finish homework and get eight hours' sleep. Now, I stay out late one or two nights a week dancing. At 10 pm, everybody's warmed up, loose, and in the flow. Since I'm not willing to cut back on dancing, the reasonable thing to do is go to bed earlier when I stay home.

A low-carb diet has helped me make do with less sleep: since I started eating this way, I sleep like a rock, even on the bus. I do pretty well on seven hours' sleep. But I still need more sleep than I'm getting. For me, the best time to go to bed seems to be 11: even though I don't fall asleep for quite awhile, or wake up at 11:45, lying in bed with the lights out seems to help me feel better rested the next day.

The other night, I got a tool I think is going to help. It's Airytech Switch Off, a free program that automatically shuts off your computer at a time you select. Since I'm usually on the computer late at night, my new strategy is to have the computer automatically shut down at 10 pm, at which time I'll get up and get ready for bed. Knowing that my time on the computer is limited is making me use the time better than frittering the night away playing Zuma. I'll post again on whether the strategy is working.

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