Self-sabotaging sleep patterns

Image by Katniss12 from Pixabay

I’ve mentioned before that I could sleep for Britain.  Or at least I think I could.  Or maybe I just fantasise about trying.  My Fitbit tells me that I average 7.5 hours a night, which is the socially prescribed length of time.  However, it’s not all quality sleep.

Looking at the breakdown of my sleep patterns registered on my Fitbit I’m generally either awake or restless about 14 times per night. I spend around 1hr 59mins in REM, 4hrs 10mins in light and 58mins in deep, restorative sleep. My heartrate during my sleep time is roughly 25% above resting heartrate.

I generally go to bed properly around 11.30pm – midnight but have often already fallen asleep on the sofa prior to that.  I rarely have trouble getting off to sleep. On weekdays the alarm rips me awake at 6am and on a weekend at 7am.  Once the alarm has gone off, I’m awake.  I can’t lie there, or get back to sleep, unlike someone I could mention!

In order to upgrade my sleep for a more restorative slumber, the latest Psychologies Magazine quick test suggested that my problem is around self-care.  The area I scored most on suggested that:

Sometimes, there is no real explanation for a shift in sleeping patterns but, if you’ve previously enjoyed regenerative sleep and now find it more elusive, it’s worth taking some time to assess the balance of your life.  We all experience periods of sleep disruption and, for many people, sleep quality naturally fluctuates.  No one has perfect sleep all the time – but if your stress levels have crept up, or you’ve stopped making tome to eat well and exercise regularly, it’s time to ask why self-care has slipped down your list of priorities. Being well aware of what habits help or hinder sleep is one thing, but putting them into practice is another.  You many know from experience that what you do on a daily basis has a direct impact on the quality of sleep that you enjoy at night.  But, even with the best of intentions, it’s easy to lose focus and slip into old habits, especially if your inner critic convinces you that you’ll never keep it up and taking care of yourself is not worth the effort.

Try to remember that small acts of self-neglect can accumulate and evolve into self-sabotage.  How easy do you find it to be self-compassionate? Think about the advice you would give a friend who was finding it hard to get the sleep they need.  Then think about how you can start to walk your talk to improve your own unsatisfactory sleep situation.”

I think some of my pre-bedtime naps are a result of boredom, I’m not really bothered about watching tv that late at night.  Once I’ve sat down and finished all I need to do, I shut down.  Sometimes, sleep is my answer to stress, if I’m asleep it can’t bother me. Should I be more active in order to stay away later, tire myself out more and have a good nights sleep? Sometimes, I can stay awake until midnight.  If I’m working on something, or engrossed in a good book, or scrolling through social media (although that’s not advised just before bed). I usually find the next day, or a couple of days later, late nights catch up with me and I need a week of sleep to get over it. 

It may be conditioning though.  A bad habit that I’ve got into by letting myself fall asleep on the sofa has just become the norm. If I were to stay awake a while longer, would the sleep I do then get be more restorative?

How do you manage to stay awake until bedtime?


One thought on “Self-sabotaging sleep patterns

  1. You say you can fall asleep quite easily and that you normally don’t have trouble sleeping, but do you feel OK for your ‘normal’ 7.5 hours a night? For someone who struggles to sleep or feel restored, I’m probably not the best person to respond 🙃 I hope someone has some sensible answers


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