Problem: Insomnia; generally erratic sleep patterns
Hypothesis: Maintaining a strict routine (going to bed and getting out of bed at the same time each day) may help this problem
Note: I realize that for many people this one is a big DUH. But I have never been good about maintaining a sleep routine. I have always either worked or read at night until I absolutely keeled over with exhaustion OR tossed and turned in bed until I became frustrated and got back up again to read. This situation dates back to mid-childhood, around the age of 10 or 12, but when I was healthy and had more energy in general I could deal with it. In the last few years, insomnia and poor sleep management have been huge problems and are a large part of the reason I am on medical leave – and the situation has not gotten any better since my leave began.
Additional complicating variable: So far, acupuncture has made my sleep problems somewhat worse. I come home from acupuncture extremely tired, and I generally can’t help falling right to sleep – leading to insomnia later.
1) Set the alarm for 7:00 each morning and get out of bed shortly after this time.
2) Every night, take my Norflex at precisely 8:00 pm and have a cup of chamomile tea at 9:00 pm. Go to bed by 9:30. Read if desired until 10:30. Turn out the light as desired between 9:30 and 10:30. If I have trouble falling asleep, I will remain relaxed in bed instead of getting back up.
3) As of right now, I will not forbid myself to take naps; however, I won’t change the above routine if I take a nap, and I will write down the details of all naps.
4) Keep records of how this sleep routine works for two weeks; re-evaluate at that time.
Friday, 2/17, 4:45 pm: Took a very deep, satisfying nap from 2:30-4:15. Starting this particular lab assignment on an acupuncture day might have been a mistake… but we’ll see.
Saturday, 2/18, 8:10 am: This experiment did not go well at all last night. I took the Norflex and drank the herbal tea on schedule, and I read in bed until a little bit past 10:30 and then turned out the light. As soon as I was lying down, my neck hurt and I couldn’t find a comfortable position. It always feels as if the tendons in my neck are “ripping” when I’m lying down. I put up with it until about 12:15 and then got up to read for a while longer. I think I ended up falling asleep around 2. Then when the alarm went off at 7, I hit snooze until 8. So in other words, it was an entirely typical night for me. I’ll try again tonight…
Sunday, 2/19, 7:10 am: Followed the procedure to the letter last night and slept well (OK, maybe not to the letter – I had a terrible headache, so I also took some Tylenol PM for a little extra assistance sleeping). We’ll see how things go today and tonight.