The Great Sleep Project

I’ve been having a lot of sleep related problems the last 6-8 months. Come to think of it, I’ve been having a lot of everything problems the last 6-8 months… but this post is strictly about the sleep one. So for a couple (2) months I wasn’t able to fall asleep at night at all, instead spending all night on my couch blazing through seasons of Star Trek: Voyager until 6-8 am, when I’d kinda fade into something like sleep for a few hours, then snap back and attempt to work for the rest of the day. Eventually I was able to get back into something of a routine, falling asleep between 4 and 6am each night/morning, and waking up around noon, and would work from noon until evening, watch TV, and then watch the cycle continue. That was my entire winter. It was not great, but it was at least functional.

A little while ago the weather started to get quite a bit nicer, and I found myself no longer “about 5 minutes away from completely losing it and going crazy” at all times. I also found that this sleeping pattern simply did not work for me anymore, and decided I needed to get back to something more closely resembling “normal people” sleeping patterns… or at least as close as I was before.

I’ve never been one to go to bed early, or any sort of morning person, but I consider a “go to bed at 1-2am, wake up at 8-9am” schedule easily doable and normal enough to count as respectable. To my surprise (and aggrivation), repeated attempts to make this happen have failed miserably. For the last month at least, and likley longer (I simply don’t remember) I’ve been unable to fall asleep before 2:30, an rarely before 3. Also, I’m completely incapable of waking up before 10… the strange exceptions being church and softball practice.

Some of the details:

  • On a given morning, I will have between 4 and 6 alarms go off. On average, I remember perhaps two of them, tops.. and only vaguely remember them after waking up well after the 6th one should have woken me up. I’ll often find my phone (one of my alarms) either in my hand or thrown somewhere on the floor, and my laptop (another alarm, with a randomized sound) muted.
  • Placing the alarms in various locations seems to have no effect, as they are consitently turned off without me recalling them afterwards. Many times the alarms have times reset to later times (which I must have done manually), and I don’t recall changing them.
  • More often then not, I get at least 8 hours of sleep, but even when I do get out of bed, I am completely exhausted, and am fairly out of it for a while (Unless the person reading this is one of my bosses, in which case I am alert and productive, doing the work of 3 mere mortals).
  • Days when I have no alarm set (Saturdays before Softball season started) I would sleep until mid to late afternoon. When I did finally get out of bed, I could easily have gone back to sleep, and had to force myself not to.
  • Many times I have woken up between 6 and 10 am for something work related (awakened by some sound from my laptop or phone), and completed a work related task, then fell back asleep, only to wake up later remembering the task but not remembering how I fell asleep.

So.. one thing I’ve decided is that I need a new bed. Mine is old, and not that great, and I’m hoping a new bed might make for a more restful sleep. Another thing I’m trying to force myself to go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night, and the hope is that I can then wake up 15 minutes earlier the following morning, until I’ve reached my target of a 1-2 to 8-9 type sleeping schedule. As simple as it sounds, I think my first week will likely be considered a failure. Here are the records for my first week on the plan:

Day Went to Bed Fell Asleep (approx.)
Monday 3:00 3:10
Tuesday 3:00 3:15
Wednesday 3:00 3:30
Thursday 2:15 2:15*
Friday 3:00 3:15
Saturday 2:45 3:00

* We had a softball double header.

So anyway, here’s hoping this week will be better. Considering it’s currently 2:20am, and I’m about to do some more work, it seems unlikely.

5 thoughts on “The Great Sleep Project

  1. Ron, My sister-in-law and the same problem, basicly she didn’t fix it until they put her on Zoloft (anti-depressant), and then during her required phycratic visits they found her to be a Manic-Depressive… Blew us away… Nikki then went and got checked out and guess what, she had the same issues but they were minor so she doesn’t need to be on the meds. I’m not saying that you are showing the signs of Manic-Depression but its something you should rule out by talking to your Doc and see if it may be something more, and see if he/she can help.

  2. I can’t relate to the falling asleep part, as I have no trouble ever falling asleep, but I can certainly understand the not waking up part, or having alarms turned off and having no recollection of turning them off. I’ve done that several times.

    But at least on the bright side, it looks like you at least fell asleep decently fast this whole past week.

  3. usually i cant sleep because my mind is racing. to remedy this, i put on quiet music that i am very familiar with. when i focus on the lyrics (which doesn’t take much effort) i can relax a lot easier and fall asleep a lot faster. you may also want to try drugs.

  4. 1. You did really well for your first week trying. Last summer, I’d go oto bed at 10 or 11 PM and not fall asleep until after 3 or 4 – that sucks, too. Lot of time spent toss and turning, and getting chewed out for tossing and turning.

    2. Some people need more than 8 hours of sleep.

    3. Getting yourself into a sleep schedule is your best bet, but you cannot deviate. Screwing up one night can set you off for two weeks. The cycle cannot be interrupted.

    4. See a sleep doctor. As you know, I had a sleep study, which was.. enlightening. I don;t have any restless leg syndrome (look that up) or anything weird, I just don’t sleep well.

    5. Getting a new bed has, at least over the past part of the week, has been wonderful. We “made an investment” and so far, we aren’t upset.

  5. Oh yeah: if you’re excessively sleepy, Provigil is wonderful. Although it does make me anxious and occasionally really, really, REALLY irritable.

    Well, I suppose the irritability was from those sonofabitch butterflies on my lawn.

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