I have done Your Best Year Yet (YBYY), by Jinny Ditzler a couple of times. The first time I didn't stick with it for much more than a few months as some pretty yucky things happened that year and I didn't have enough experience to turn it around whilst still working on my YBYY goals. The second time I tried it, quite a few years later, I found it very useful but then let it lapse the next year. Recently I came across my records from that year and realised that although I might not have achieved all the goals that year, I have achieved some since and many of the things I learnt along the way are now a part of my life. I decided to work through the book again with a view to either following the Best Year Yet plan that results or just to see what the plan would be and cherry picking a few things to work on.
Taking a break after question eight "what are my goals for each role" and giving myself time to add to the list before thinning it and finalising it I was having a poke about and came across Colleen Wainwright of communicatrix and a very interesting list of self improvement sites to visit.
The last day of the 30 day trial to be in bed before midnight. I did not take into account the clocks going forward towards the end. Just before that happened I noticed something very interesting; by around day 21, which is the usual time taken to establish a new habit, I was noting that I was getting to bed after midnight, in theory, a fail. Fortunately I also noted the actual time I settled into bed and it was 12.30. I asked myself, could this be my optimum bedtime? I slept better on the nights that I went to bed at 12.30 so I assumed that to be the case. When the clocks altered I forgot to note the time I was actually settling to sleep but I know it was after 1.00 when I was getting to bed which would be after 12 in pre. British Summertime, more than likely still 12.30, by my body.
I had expected to experience various benefits of going to bed earlier, especially feeling more energetic or at least not tired. I am still tired, still lacking in energy but at least now I can stop blaming lack of sleep and explore other avenues such as exercise to relieve my tiredness . I will continue my new habit of going to bed earlier than I used to. When I first began the trial my goal was to establish a new habit of being in bed by midnight, to over ride my default behaviour of staying up 'til all hours watching TV or reading e-mail. I didn't establish that habit but I did establish a new habit of being in bed around midnight, and learnt that it's probably my habit of watching soaps instead of getting enough exercise that is causing my tiredness, not lack of sleep.
This sleep trial has made me examine other possible causes for my tiredness, as getting more sleep hasn't made me feel less tired. One cause that is staring me in the face is that in the autumn I stopped doing much exercise at all except for the occasional walk and yoga class and the truth is that being unfit is also being tired. I've got myself into a classic vicious circle, exercise would make me feel less tired but I am too tired to exercise. The way out of this, as I see it, would be to have a thirty day trial of just doing something small every day to get back on the road to fitness,probably starting with doing The Five Tibetan Rites every day again and walking every day. Tim at Peak Progress is doing an eight minute workout every day and finds that small effort beneficial. During most of last year I was going to the gym three or four times a week after work and walking as much as possible. To go from that to a walk of just a mile or two once a week probably explains my lack of energy and definitely explains my expanding waist.
Other notes on the trial. Last night I was in bed a few minutes after midnight but it's still a lot better than my previous 1.30 or 2.00 am.
I still get up at the same time on my days off. Previously I would sleep in or get up and go back to bed for a few hours. Maybe those extra hours sleep now and then were all I needed to "top up".
Even though I have "broken" the trial at weekends I have not restarted and I still don't consider the trial a fail and will continue it. I have noticed that a lot of people who document their trials carry on after a "fail" and I have not come across anyone who restarts from day one after a missed day. Lil Duck still considered her giving up caffeinated pop trial useful as it moved her towards her goal of not drinking it first thing in the morning even though she still had some during the day. As Jane Wells says
Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break.
Still feeling tired, headachey and generally unwell. I am convinced that I have picked up a virus that coincided with this sleep trial. Maybe if it wasn't for the fact that I was establishing a better sleep pattern I would have felt a lot worse and be in no doubt.
I notice I am dreaming a lot, which is a sign that I am not sleeping deeply.
Although I broke the pattern and stayed up later at the weekend I automatically go to bed before midnight on week days.
Left eye is still twitching. I remember this happening in the past and it was always in winter time and lasted a few weeks. Maybe some sort of "dormant" virus that comes out once a year. Maybe stress related. During the few years of my present employment three people have left and most of their work shoved onto me and no extra staff taken on. The more I think about this, the more I realise how significant that fact probably is in relation to my stress and anxiety levels. Time for a change of job I think.
Very disappointed that all the benefits of earlier nights that I anticipated, such as waking up feeling refreshed, not feeling tired, more energy etc. have not come to fruition. If I continue to do the work of four people and all the work at home, I don't suppose they ever will.
So tired today, woke up unrefreshed and feeling flu-ish and with a twitch in my left eye which has gone on all day. In an effort to understand why I am more tired since I began this trial than before I have been doing a little research. I came across this article from the Observer which mentions "we should realise that the key to feeling energetic and focused in the morning is what we do in the waking hours, not whether we are getting enough time with our heads on a pillow. Even those who wake up frequently at night are probably getting sufficient sleep." and that "Sleep, or rather our frustration at not having enough of it, is the new health obsession". Which leads me to wonder if I am just blaming lack of sleep for my lack of energy when it's something else I should be examining. Without doing the sleep trial I would not have arrived at this train of thought and would have continued to assume that I needed more sleep without looking elsewhere for reasons for my fatigue. Of course I will continue the trial. I might actually just have a virus and one morning I will wake up full of the joys of spring. If the 30 days comes to an end, having the effect of establishing a habit of going to bed before midnight (which IS becoming an automatic thing to do) but still feeling like a limp dish cloth then obviously I need to try something else.
I have been giving some thought to the fact that, although I am getting more sleep, I still feel tired. Obviously there could be other causes such as not enough exercise but I am wondering if I should have explored Steve's How to become an early riser instead. I am wondering if I actually need eight hours sleep. For years I have managed on 5 or 6 broken hours, maybe aiming at 7 or 8 unbroken is unnecessary. Six hours unbroken might be all that I need.He explores two approaches to becoming an early riser and combines them...
"The solution was to go to bed when I’m sleepy (and only when I’m sleepy) and get up with an alarm clock at a fixed time (7 days per week). So I always get up at the same time (in my case 5am), but I go to bed at different times every night."
Last night, being Saturday night, I was in bed before midnight as planned but ended up having a massive row with Darling Daughter who does not agree with my new regime. It's not as if I am insisting she go to bed at the same time as me or creep about like a mouse, she just wants me to stay up and keep her company. I can understand that she misses our late girly nights watching films etc. and she just can't look beyond a few weekends to after the trial. I was so worked up after trying to justify my going to bed at midnight to a truculent teenager that I got up and did the ironing, shrieking "If I'm not allowed to sleep I suppose I'd better work, that's all I'm good for!" Maybe if I had been following Steve's advice to go when sleepy she would not have been so incensed as she would have been able to see that I needed to go to bed and would only have snored my way through Lost if I'd stayed up.
As I have broken the pattern the trial should be re-started, so unless Darling Daughter gets her head round the concept we will have this battle for more weekends in number than if she had just let me get on with it. At least we would have been one weekend down and only two to go.I will probably have to abandon or modify the trial or maybe explore the early riser concept. Obviously I could try just going to bed by midnight on week days but the point was to establish a habit by doing the same thing for 30 days in a row.
Finding it easier to get up but still feeling tired during the day. It's a strange feeling, not the worn out lethargic feeling from before the trial but just a yawney, tired eye feeling as if I've had a long busy day even if it's only noon.
Struggled Friday night with darling daughter trying to persuade me to stay up late with her because it was weekend. I went to bed before midnight and she kept coming into the bedroom saying I was mean not to keep her company. In the end, after a bit of a lecture again about how I will probably stay up a little later at weekends after the trial and that it's not too much to ask for a little support for a few weekends until then, she decided to get ready for bed herself. When she went to bed she was asleep within minutes. I had quite a good nights sleep, even though I got up once to let the cat out as she was making so much noise and then of course again to let her back in. I'll have to look into getting a cat flap installed. Daughter says she might have friends sleepover tonight for company but so far she doesn't seem to have made any arrangements. I think maybe she has weighed up the disadvantage of the fact that her friend snores against the advantage of a snore free but earlier night. Of course her pals might burst through the door any minuted loaded with pillows, DVD's and popcorn.
Made it to bed before midnight again. I've become much more selective about what I watch on TV, not sky plussing as much, knowing I won't have as much time to watch it. Strangely, although we are all getting to bed earlier and getting more sleep, we are all feeling even more tired than normal. What's that about then?
I have come across a few people doing trials of their own. Kate has done a few and completed one on eating fruit every day. I notice that she cut herself some slack by not re-starting when she missed a day. I'll cross that bridge if I come to it. Time to get fit says "The 30 Day Technique has been a great way to introduce changes to my lifestyle. It allows me to make just one or two changes at a time, without feeling the pressure of thinking of them as permanent changes." Mind Matters has run multiple trials and his records make interesting reading.
In bed before midnight again, by the skin of my teeth but definitely in.Very headachey today. I rarely get headaches these days so it must be to do with my change in sleep pattern. I would have thought that I'd be waking up feeling refreshed, not headachey, but its too early to judge. I actually had time for breakfast this morning, as well as dropping people off here and there before work.
I'm very hopeful that this trial will be successful as I'm quite excited at the prospect of using the 30 day technique on some of my other BYY goals. I'm particularly thinking of the way I seemed to stop doing the Five Rites everyday after doing them every day for six months. A 30 day trial could bring them back into my life.