It seems like I’ve gotten less sleep than usual, but that’s not the case. Yes, I keep a record of my sleep and I average a little more than 6-1/2 hours per night (or at times, per 24 hour period).
I was born with a weird body clock, but it has served me well in the semi-weekly newspaper business where twice a week I’m basically up all night. It’s not for everyone – the sleep schedule, or the business I’m in – but I love it.
My biggest nightmare would be an 8 to 5 job. I would adjust better to shift work with different shifts each week than adjusting to a job with “normal” hours.
I don’t go to sleep unless I’m tired, and my work/sleep schedule has been solidified, especially since a few months after Hurricane Harvey.
I enjoy receiving a daily email from WebMD, although the subject matter doesn’t always interest me.
One I received recently was called “10 tips to get more sound sleep”.
Other topics covered in the same email included “Tips to help prevent gallstones”, “How to live a more daring life”, and “Turn your bath into a spa treatment”.
None of those really grabbed my interest. If I get gallstones, I’ll get them. I already live a daring life, and I have no desire to go to a spa in my own house!
But, here are the sound sleep tips, followed by my unsolicited comments (in italics).
1. Go bland before bedtime. To fall asleep quickly, avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol for at least four hours before you go to bed.
I don’t drink alcoholic beverages so that’s not a problem, but I always have a glass of sweet tea in my hand and I chew on a cigar. But, I’m like a dog … when I’m tired, I sleep … no problem.
2. Be predictable. Go to bed around the same time every night, and try to follow a similar routine.
Ain’t ever gonna happen!
3. Don’t toss and turn. If you can’t sleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something else.
I actually do this on the rare occasion I don’t fall right to sleep.
4. Save the bed for sleep and sex. Avoid paying bills, reading the paper or watching TV in bed.
I don’t ever recall paying a bill in bed, but I read and watch TV all the time before going to sleep. It actually helps me unwind.
5. Take a bath. When your body gets ready for sleep, your temperature drops. A bath may nudge your bedtime biochemistry along.
I love taking a shower right before going to bed.
6. Exercise early. If you exercise, do it before dinner, not after.
Check. My normal one-hour workout schedule is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:45 p.m. – right before we eat dinner.
7. Get dark. People usually sleep best in a cool, dark environment. Invest in heavy drapes if city lights glare outside.
It’s dark when I turn my lamp off. Our thermostat drops to 72 degrees at 10 p.m.
8. Grab a snack. It’s hard to sleep hungry, so try a light snack before bedtime. Some researchers think tryptophan, a chemical found in milk, naturally induces sleep.
I love to grab two large tumblers right before going to bed, and fill one with milk and the other with cereal. I started doing that as a kid - my invention, you can’t claim it – because I hate soggy cereal. I alternate a mouthful of cereal, with a huge gulp of cold milk. My grandsons do this with me sometimes when they’re visiting. This practice also lets me know when I need to trim my mustache!
9. Cut naps short. If you have trouble falling asleep, consider avoiding naps. At the very least, limit them to less than an hour before mid-afternoon.
The only time I might take a quick nap is on Monday afternoons. I generally work a few hours Sunday night to prep for the week, and my week always starts with a government meeting at 9 a.m. Monday (except for months with five Mondays). Since I’m up all night Mondays with the paper, a nap is sometimes needed.
10. Deal with stress. If daytime troubles keep you awake, try jotting notes about ways to deal with them. Leave stress at the bedroom door, if you can.
I’m very good, maybe too good, at “turning it off” when I walk into our house. I used to tell my daughters, “Dad is in neutral.” I almost never think about work at home. As far as stress, I just try to do the next thing right, and I really don’t worry about it. I work best under on a deadline. I post stuff on Facebook to get thoughts out of my mind, and rarely scroll through social media. I guess it’s a necessity nowadays, but it will turn you into Pavlov’s dog if you’re not careful. If that statement stumps you … Google it!
Until next week, have a good week … and get a good night’s rest!
Mike Probst can be reached at email@example.com.