My Sleep Progress (Getting Better)

Last night, I stayed up later than previous nights. I started with watching YouTube videos around 8 PM in the living room. Ideally, I would have stayed in the living room, but I was feeling uncomfortable sitting there. So, I ended up reading in the bedroom. After reading for 2 chapters for 55 minutes, I got curious about other topics and was Googling for a while. Around 11:15 PM, I turned off the lights. But then, I was still curious about what I was Googling, so I only put away my tablet by 12 AM. I think I ended up sleeping before 1 AM. It still took some time to fall asleep because I wasn’t really sleepy, but this night was better because even when I woke up throughout the night, I would focus on falling back asleep. And eventually, I got out of bed by 9:50 AM. Quite an improvement! That’s the earliest I’ve gotten up in weeks.

This time, I got lucky because I found something to keep my mind occupied beyond 10 PM. But if I didn’t, I would have just stayed awake in bed for additional hours. And maybe, I would have woken up later. Who knows.

I’m not sure if it’s necessary to not be in bed while reading. I don’t know how that’s affecting the time it takes me to fall asleep. Some people say the bed should only be for sleeping. But, I’ve also heard of others sitting up in bed to read. Or in some cases, like when someone lives in a studio apartment, the bed might be the place to sit for almost every home activity, like eating or watching videos. Yet, they can sleep fine at night.

My resolution for now is to spend more time on evening activities that will keep me up until at least 11 PM. I thought about getting an adult coloring book. Or, I could just print out coloring pages and buy some colored pencils or markers to fill them in. That might be a relaxing activity. I could start with 15 minutes, or commit to coloring half a page.

In the past, I’ve thought of writing books. When I was younger, I wanted to write fiction. As I grew older, I’ve come around to non-fiction. I don’t typically have any creative ideas for novels. I thought I could journal ideas, but usually, I have writer’s block. Or well, I have no idea what to write. I guess I could research what other people do to draft books. It would not only push me to be more creative, but maybe even be profitable depending on what I write.

I’ve also thought about trying to find some sort of activity book. It reminds me of when I was a kid and was subscribed to the Highlights magazine for kids. They had different kinds of puzzles or activities such as finding differences between two pictures or word searches.

I could also just go through a workbook of a particular subject. I’ve been so bored that I’ve thought about learning or re-learning different subjects, such as math, a foreign language, or English vocabulary. I’ve thought about preparing for various exams just to see how well I would do, like TOPIK or the GRE. But, the material would have to be engaging. I’ve tried dabbling into a Udemy course on Spanish. My progress has been quite slow. It’s just not that interesting to me the way they present the material in the particular course I’m enrolled in.

I think I’m going to order some colored markers today and print out a few adult coloring pages. Then, I’ll have them ready for next time. So far, this is the routine I’ll be experimenting with:

– Watch fun videos on YouTube, or Running Man for at least 30 minutes
– Color in at least half a page
– Read at least 20 pages of a book
– Journal one accomplishment or positive thing that happened that day
– Listen to a sleep meditation if not sleepy

All the activities I listed can also be viewed as coping skills. I hope eventually, I can build up interest in enough activities that I have plenty to choose from rather than create a planned-out routine. Though, I will likely keep part of the routine, such as reading and one-minute journaling. I’ve lost interest over many activities previously, so I’m new ones and old ones to see if my feelings have changed, or if I can change my feelings through repetition. I wasn’t a big book reader before (reading at most one book a year), but I’m trying to change my habits so that I can become one. I’ve found reading on a tablet to be enjoyable.

I hope I can learn to enjoy exercise again. At one point, I was going to the gym regularly (pre-COVID-19). I even remember trying dance classes at some point. But, the tiredness got to me. It probably won’t be an evening activity. I’d rather exercise in the morning or afternoon. It’s possible that once I incorporate more physical activity into my day, my sleep could improve.

I’ve talked about the importance of tracking progress through charts, spreadsheets, or even simple journaling. I haven’t really done anything for tracking my sleep recently besides blogging about it. There’s so many factors that affect sleeping that I’m not sure what to record specifically in a way that won’t overwhelm myself. I did look into sleep logs that various organizations have share online. I might try that, even if it’s short-term. It’d be nice to look back and discover certain patterns with my sleep.

I hope that my sleep pattern continues in a positive trend. My current ideal would be to sleep by 11 PM and wake up by 8 AM. That’s still 9 hours of sleeping or being in bed, though eventually with doing more, I could adjust the times. I’m still hesitant to wake up before 8 AM because sometimes I become anxious about what I should do with all the extra time. It’s a weird concern, but I definitely get that way from hearing voices. I like to minimize hearing voices as much as possible throughout the day, and sleep is one of my coping skills in a way. It’s one of the times when I don’t have to deal with it as much.

I’m not crazy about getting a 9-5 job, but I’ve recently became curious about crisis helpline opportunities. There’s one I recently requested more info about. Ideally, it would work with my schedule. Whether it’s paid or volunteer, I could work between 11AM to 6PM. And, it would have to be part-time. I don’t know if I could concentrate on a regular daily job. I only like committing to consistent projects if I know that I can do it. I definitely won’t entertain the idea of working night hours, because I know how important it is for me to have a routine schedule to minimize hearing voices.

Different things work for different people. This is just what I’ve been trying. So anyway, I’ll try implementing my improvised evening routine. I’ll also try searching for a good sleep log and test it out for a week or so.

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