I looked at my calendar this week and was shocked to find that January was almost over already! Holy crap! Where has the month gone?!?! Maybe I have SLEPT IT AWAY!!!!!
In case you missed it, I am doing my own “Happiness Project” in 2014, based on the book titled (obviously…), “The Happiness Project.” For the month of January, I focused on getting more sleep. It was essential to my health and my happiness that I get more sleep this year, and I am happy to report that I am!!!
My three goals for getting more sleep were:
- 9:30pm bedtime
- Establish a bedtime routine
- No cell phone, computer, or iPad after 8:00pm
- Start blogging in the mornings and weekends only
Most of these worked out for the best, some I ended up adapting, and one I just gave up on altogether.
1. 9:30pm bedtime – This one took me a while to get into. I was cranky during the day for the first two weeks that I used a bedtime, and all I did was crave more sleep. But I really tried to stick with it for the entire month to give my body time to adjust, and I definitely did. A very sweet blog reader suggested that I take a night and morning when the kids were not around and let myself fall asleep naturally and wake up naturally to see how much sleep my body really wanted and needed. I thought that was a great idea, so I did it. Turns out, my body naturally wants to go to bed at 10:00 instead of 9:30 and that if I go to bed at 10:00, I wake up naturally at 6:00am on the button. That time frame works out wonderfully for my morning routine. I still go into my bedroom at 9:00 to begin getting ready for bed (more on that in a minute), and I am still in bed by 9:30. But, I read until sometime between 9:30 and 10:00, and whenever I get tired in that window, I turn my light out.
2. Establish a bedtime routine – I think this one, coupled with the bedtime, has made the most difference in my happiness level. Turns out, I love having a bedtime routine! I head into my bathroom around 9:00, and I spend the time brushing my teeth, washing my face, moisturizing, putting on wrinkle cream, which makes me feel both old and fresh faced at the same time! (I’m using Estee Lauder’s Advanced Time Zone Wrinkle Cream, and it is heavenly!) Then, I clean up the bathroom so that it is ready to go in the morning – a new concept to me, and one that I LOVE! Coming in to a clean bathroom in the mornings is so refreshing! I invested in some new nighttime products, and I think that’s half the fun of getting ready for bed! I get into bed feeling like I have physically wiped the day from my body, and that is helping me drift off to sleep so much easier.
3. No cell phone, computer, or iPad after 8:00pm – This one has been the hardest to keep, but not for the reasons I expected. I have actually loved turning my electronics – and my mind! – off at 8:00pm. One other thing I started doing to help me keep my goal was that now I charge my phone at night across my bedroom from my bed. My biggest trap was waking up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, and grabbing my phone for entertainment. That would wake my mind and body up more than it already was and made it harder to go back to sleep. Now, not having my phone within my reach has curbed that. I may still occasionally wake up throughout the night (though that is happening so much less), but I go back to sleep so much quicker because I don’t have that phone so close by. The hardest part of this goal has been the necessity of a phone, computer, or iPad. If my mom’s calling me, or if a co-worker texts me, after 8:00pm, I have to answer. I’ve gone back and forth about this, though. Finally, I came up with the rule that if my response could wait, then I don’t reply. But if a response can’t wait, then I reply quickly, one time. This goal is a pain in the butt, honestly, but it really has made a difference to be off social media, especially, after 8:00pm. Any unnecessary mental stimulation after 8:00pm has been cut out, and I do find that this makes it easier for my brain to settle down as I’m trying to go to sleep.
4. Start blogging in the mornings and weekends only – Yeah… so… this one didn’t work out. Like, at all. Though, as I write this one post, it is 6:10am. But this is an exception! The trouble with blogging in the morning is that it’s too early to be funny or reflective or insightful or whatever. This early in the morning, I am barely alive, much less entertaining. Plus, I begin my day at 6:00 with my daily devotional, and I wasn’t willing to give that up for blogging. I tried the blogging on the weekend thing, and it worked one week (did anyone notice???). But the problem with weekend blogging is that it cuts several prime hours out of my Sunday afternoon, when I would much rather be hanging with Chris and the kids. I did modify my blogging schedule, though, because I was convinced that staying up late blogging was making it harder for me to settle my mind and go to sleep. Now, I blog when I get home from work during that one hour between getting the kids home from daycare and when I have to start dinner. The kids hang out in my office with me, and I crank out a blog post. The only problem has been those days when I have to work late or get home for some other reason later than normal (I am taking an ESOL class for my teaching certificate right now, and I have class every Thursday night from 5:00 until 8:30…). But, it is what it is. So, I blog earlier in the day, but didn’t quite make it to early mornings or weekend.
Sleeping better this month has made such a drastic change in my happiness. I wake up feeling refreshed, instead of sluggish. I go through my day without hitting that 2:00pm wall. I am just happier and more positive, and I am 100% certain that comes from getting the amount of sleep that my body needs.
Speaking of bodies, while January has been wonderful, February is creeping up closer and I’m not looking forward to it’s arrival. February is my “diet” month. I’ve set the following goals that make me feel so very UNhappy when I look at them, but I’m trying to remind myself that in order to achieve long-term happiness, life sometimes has to suck for a little bit:
- No sweets (dessert, candy, cookies, ice cream, etc.) – I GET A ONE-DAY PASS ON FEB. 14!!!!!
- Fruits and veggies ONLY for snacks
- Smoothies for breakfast
- Take a daily multivitamin
And here is where I need your help. Does anyone have a good women’s multivitamin that they can recommend? I have been taking Women’s One a Day, but it makes me so sick on my stomach, even when I take it with food. Any suggestions out there for sometime a little gentler????