Daylight saving – though it only threw my routine out by an hour – gave me a slightly groggy, jet-lagged feeling, so this month I’ve been reflecting on the gift of a good night’s sleep, and the habits that can help set me up for it. (An aside to parents of young kids: I know that for some of you, that groggy feeling is pretty much your reality for months or years, and I salute you.) On that note, I’ve picked a few things from Healthy Food Guide’s list of sleep hygiene tips, and made a little tick chart for myself. (Did I mention that I’m a teacher?)
These are the habits I’m focusing on:
- Wake up between 5 and 6am every morning. (I’m a morning person.)
- Be in bed with the lights out by 9.45pm every night. (Definitely a morning person.)
- Avoid doing any work or looking at any screens (laptop, phone or television) one hour before bed.
- Have a piece of paper and a pencil by the bed to write down any worries or great ideas that wake me up in the middle of the night.
- Express gratitude for a couple of things that happened during the day.
That last item was inspired by Janice Kaplan’s book The Gratitude Diaries, which I read a couple of years ago. It was also recommended by the counsellor who did my burnout assessment. It’s a way to end the day in a positive way. Here’s a random selection from the notebooks I’ve kept by my bed for about a year and a half:
- Thankful for the surprise of a stunning sunrise this morning.
- Grateful for a free snack from the vending machine repair man.
- Grateful for my GP.
- Thankful for late summer stone fruit, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers.
- Grateful for the texts from my mate Matt today.
- Grateful that I’ve never gone through a natural disaster.
- Grateful for the free time I had this evening, just to sit on the couch and read to the end of my novel.
I’m also grateful to report that, aside from couple of late Friday nights, a couple of weekend sleep-ins, and a few times when work worries kept me awake, I’ve started developing healthier sleep habits. Last December, a headline in the New York Times declared Let 2017 Be the Year of Working Hard and Resting Hard. It may have taken me a few months, but I’m getting there.
*Lynne Glen is a guest blogger and reader of Healthy Food Guide. She has taken up the challenge to use the mental well-being and resilience advice from the July 2017 issue and write about her progress.
Read more of her pieces here: