Emergency Sleep Experiment

Even though I am a night owl and love the evenings and late nights as they stretch out before me, I need sleep more.

Since I started getting up earlier a few months ago, I’ve lost focus. I’m scatterbrained (more than usual!) and have difficulty making decisions. A couple of weeks ago, I missed my metro stop on the way to work, which I never do. Later that same commute, I walked into traffic turning into me because I thought the green arrow meant I could walk. Oops.

So my brain is mush.

I’m also cranky. If you know me, you know being cranky isn’t all that unusual for me, but I’ve been especially cranky. And also sensitive–quick to turn every interaction into a rejection of me as a person. Basically, a joy to be around (if anyone ever were around which isn’t often since no one likes me–see what I did there with the example sensitiveness?!?)

I’m also just sick and tired of everything. While it’s quite possible that some things in my life need shaking up (I’m looking at you, work), I’d rather think about this with a brain that works instead of one that forgets the meaning of important traffic signals.

Add to all that a week-long bout of left eyelid twitching followed by a most unwelcome four-day (and counting!) cluster headache focused near my left eye, and you’d think my body is trying to tell me something…

I’m still functioning, doing my job, living my life, getting by quite well, considering, but I don’t want to get by. I don’t want to live in crisis mode when there’s no crisis other than I can’t get my ass into bed.

So even though I’ve had no luck dealing with my compulsion to stay up late for over 20 years, this is an emergency. Since I’m a social scientist, I thought I could make this fun by turning it into an experiment.

Introducing the Emergency Sleep Experiment!

What would happen if I could just make myself go to bed earlier for a couple of weeks? Would I feel better? Would I have more energy? Would my focus improve? Would I stop being so cranky and sensitive? Would I stop hating people? Would this fucking cluster headache and eye twitching go away? Would there be world peace and a baby red panda delivered to my door?

I don’t know. Let’s find out, shall we?

The rules of the Emergency Sleep Experiment:

1.) Go upstairs by 11pm.

2.) No screens after 11pm (not even you, O Delectable iPad!).

3.) Lights out by midnight.

4.) Get up by 8am, even on weekends (trying to “catch” up on sleep during weekends backfires on me)

5.) Institute “Happy Fun Time” to delay gratification from weeknights to a weekend morning.

Number 5 is the critical piece. Sheer willpower (it’s 11pm, just go to bed!) isn’t going to work. So the idea behind “Happy Fun Time” is to “bank” time I now spend watching TV, blogging, etc… during the wee hours of my weekday evenings and moving that time to a weekend morning. When I don’t want to go to bed, hopefully it will work to tell myself I’ll be able to spend Saturday or Sunday morning doing whatever I damn well please. Hopefully the promise of the “Happy Fun Time” will get my ass out of bed on weekend mornings.

Starts tonight. So I need to sign off and enjoy my last hour before my new big girl bedtime. Wish me luck. Please feel free to share any suggestions.

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5 Responses to “Emergency Sleep Experiment”

  1. curlygeek04
    Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    Good luck! I’ve sort of turned myself into a morning person over the years. Now I kind of like the time to myself on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Unfortunately that also means no movies that go past midnight or I’m asleep on the couch. Ah, the life of a forty year old. Although, everyone I know who has children is up at 6 am everyday, so to them I’m still a late sleeper. My sisters haven’t stayed awake through a movie in years…

    • logyexpress
      Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 11:30 am #

      Thanks! I’m too stubborn…so far there’s no amount of tiredness that gets me to bed earlier. I’m not someone who falls asleep on the couch when I get tired. I wish I were. This week’s gone pretty well, but it’s taking sheer willpower.

      What time do you get up on weekends?


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