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October


Routine Sleep. Friday October 14, 2016

Now that the nights are drawing in, I'm trying to get into a proper sleep routine. This has been helped by discovering a sleep function on the exercise app I use (Argus, by Azumio, premium version c£22 annually). I use it to give me some idea of how much sleep I'm actually getting and also to get into the habit of going to sleep before 11, because so much research shows that this is a good idea.

I wanted to see how a sleep routine would help my energy and mood levels. There are so many nights that I've read a book online or watched Netflix and ended up at 12 or 1 still awake and then found it difficult to drop off. As I wake up with the dawn, which got earlier and earlier as the year wore on, this meant some nights I was averaging five or six hours, which left me often feeling under par – as though I were operating with a layer of skin less.

Early indications are that it's really helping. I've felt pretty upbeat since about the third day of doing it – I feel as though I'm getting 'me' back and feel a lot more confident and motivated. I've also got more energy and am able to concentrate more.

Because I'm also keeping an eye on what I eat and drink, using MyFitnessPal (free version) and exercise on Argus linking through the Apple Health app (you can use Google Fit if you're on Android), the nights that I've woken up and been unable to sleep I'm able to see if there are any patterns with what I've eaten or drunk or done. Like Moodscope, measuring and tracking has been a great way to consistently see what the triggers are.

Sleep builds energy, increases memory and stimulates creativity. It also means our brains shrink allowing space for cerebrospinal fluid to flow into and throughout the brain, gently cleaning it of toxins, which is why we need good sleep so badly. Here's an article that I came across recently, which explains it all really well (and links to the study on cerebrospinal fluid). It's called Sleep: The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Career, but think of it as what it can do for your health: http://bit.ly/2elrxw6

There's also an interesting video on the same subject: http://bit.ly/2e0hlpw

A View From the Far Side
A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


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Comments

Eva Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 7:08am

Really useful blog, I have been tracking my sleep for a few years now, I usually get around 5.5 to 6 hours a night, but 8 hours in bed with a fairly regular bed time and sleep routine. I'm one of the wake up early bunch. If it's early enough I may be able to get back to sleep but if it's after 5.30 it's unlikely. It doesn't stress me out though, I'm accustomed to it and do a bit of meditation initially, if I'm still awake I read, or listen to something and just rest. I'm generally out for the count between 11 and 2 which ratg has mentioned previously as the enriching renewing sleep slot. I'll check out the links, thanks :)

Eva Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 7:08am

Oh and good luck with improving your sleep cycle :)

Hopeful One Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 7:53am

Hi AVSTFS- a very useful blog and thanks for giving me the names of some sleep apps which I will look up. Like Eva above I am an early riser and can do with 5 1/2 to 6 hours. There is a big difference between what we want and what we need. One would believe that we all would love to sleep longer! So how do we know or find out how much we need ? . Fortunately our bodies and minds make that decision for us. If we use the criteria of feeling alert and feeling refreshed after our sleep ,no matter how long , than that is the amount we need. The next important thing to work out is how efficient our sleep is to achieve those two criteria. This is done by calculating our sleep efficiency. One needs to log one' s sleep for a few weeks to find this out ( a useful form is available in Colin Aspie's book on sleep disorders- I do not know of any apps that do that maybe someone does?) . It has been found that being alert and being refreshed only occurs if we achieve 90 % plus . ( 6 hours in bed and six in sleep = 100%, 8 hours in bed and 6 actually asleep( to be ascertained by the log) = 75%.) . There is one other criteria I find useful info in my case to know that I achieved those two targets. I ask myself if I had dreams. This feature only occurs in Rapid Eye Movement R.E.M.) phase of sleep. This tells me that I must have completed the other four phases of sleep as disruption of these phases ,for any reason , is a leading cause for inefficient sleep.

Thanks for pointing out the sleep / cerebrospinal (CSF) fluid link. One would like to think that brain shrinkage is the last thing one wants for that is the hall mark of many , if not all , neurodegerative brain conditions! Increase of CSF is called hydrocephalus - another condition one would like to avoid. It's circulation has ,as far as I know nothing to do with brain size but the state of the channels that connect the different chambers, the production and absorption of CSF.

We can still laugh though no matter if we slept well or not.

One fine day, a billionaire was walking his dog.Suddenly a man ran out from the bushes in front of him and shot the poor dog three times.The billionaire shouted at the killer, "Why did you do that?"The killer answered, "Your wife gave me £50,000 and said to 'Go kill that son-of-a-bitch'".
The billionaire hugged the killer and said......."I don't know who your English teacher was, but I am forever grateful to her."

LP Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 8:03am

Hi there AVFFS!
I'm looking forward to a period of restful sleep after a stressful few weeks. I was waking at 3am and less able to prevent worries from circling around in my head than in the day when I can distract myself. I was motivated to get it all sorted out and fortunately they were things that I could do something about.
I aim for 10.30 to be in bed by. I find that temperature plays a part, I often wake up hot and thirsty. So with some adjustments I should be back on track with my sleep routine. All this talk of sleep is making me want to drift off again! :)
Thanks for your reminder of how important sleep is for our brains as well as body. Hugs to all LPxx

the room above the garage Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 8:39am

After my own heart! I've been plagued by a lifetime of feeling exhausted, medically nothing can ever be found. And yet I've watched one of my 3 children grow and struggle with precisely the same. Plenty sleep, great diet, liquids and yet exhaustion. Monitoring my sleep pattern helped in that I learned I need a big amount of sleep, and at the earlier part of the night, to feel my best. Unfortunately it's wholly impractical!!!! For my child, an 8pm bedtime is impossible with sports after school and homework as well as trying to have some time off. We aim for 8.30/9 but it always feels crammed. Ditto for me...a 9pm bedtime with an early rise makes a big difference to my mood but as a solo parent it's impossible. That said, learning about my body and understanding sleep cycles has been very worthwhile. Waking at the end of a ninety minute sleep cycle gives my body a better feeling than waking mid way (when I wake feeling hungover). Look up the sleep calculator for anyone who wants to investigate this. Thank you AVFTFS, more tools for fighting mood! Love ratg x.

Orangeblossom Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 9:13am

Thanks for your blog. I find it very helpful & practical. I shall try to apply it to my own life.

Andrew Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 9:13am

Hi there - very useful blog, thanks. As has been said on here many times, by me and others, we so easily forget two important things:

First, that our body, brain, being,physical self - is a hugely complex piece of kit. Not just the bio mechanics of the physical bits, which are complicated enough anyway, but add to that the as yet unfathomed depths of the mind, spirit, soul and spiritual self, and you have an awesomely complicated entity, that is by its very nature bound to go wrong now and again!

Second, it is easy to forget how to maintain this piece of kit! Too often we fuel ourselves with attractive but ultimately unhelpful foods and fluids, forget to 'service' the vehicle regularly, avoid spending the time and the expending the effort required to keep the whole thing ticking over smoothly.....sleep being one of those essential components. But good sleep doesn't just come because we go to bed early enough. We have to be ready for it - prepared. Sadly, we don't have an 'off' switch (wouldn't that be useful!) - so good mental preparation, a quiet pre-sleep routine, stress-free surroundings in the bedroom, (NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES!) and calm, self-aware, slow, deliberate deep breathing.....does it for me every time zzzzzz

Sweet dreams x

A View from the Far Side Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 10:14am

Morning all. I wrote this blog about a month ago and I've managed to continue logging food and activities - the longest I've ever stuck to anything like this - and I think the sleep component has been absolutely key in helping keep everything on track. Thanks for all your comments and insights; fabulous to see how our different selves deal with this issue. AVFTFS xx

A View from the Far Side Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 10:17am

I should add that every couple of weeks, I've been woken by very vivid dreams and the odd nightmare between 4 and 5.30, and I can't easily get back to sleep. Any tips on how to deal with these?

Hopeful One Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 11:41am

Hi Andrew- one feels there is nothing to deal with. One'd dreams / nightmares indicate that the full sleep cycle is complete. Lying in bed hoping to fall asleep (one will not succeed if one tries to force oneself to sleep) and will start eating into one's sleep efficiency(see above) reducing its effectiveness in waking up alert and refreshed. The better option one feels is to swing one 's leg and get up to start the day,

A View from the Far Side Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 12:06pm

Thanks Hopeful one.

Hopeful One Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 11:44am

Apologies to Andrew the reply was addressed to AVTFFS!

Michael Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 2:14pm

As a medic I had 30 years of regular sleep deprivation. At the beginning of my career "on call" started on a Fri morning and ended Mon evening. Three nights with little or no sleep and busy with emergencies. So not a big surprise that my quality of life has been poor for 15 years and unable to work due to severe depression for the last 21/2yrs. I find my mood now is very vulnerable to late nights.
I often wear a sleep mask, which means I don't wake early in the summer. If I have to set an alarm I use an app that detects and wakes you in the lightest phase of sleep.
Paradoxically short term sleep deprivation can considerably boost my mood, but the price of a couple of days of feeling energised is 3 or 4 days of feeling hungover.
I have also enabled the orange light app on my Mac so that I don't get the melatonin killing " blue light" in the evening.
Whenever possible I have the bedroom window wide open all night as a cold or cool room temp is more conducive to good sleep

Mary Wednesday Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 2:50pm

This is all fascinating! I'm in my "up" phase at present and so only need about 5 hours a night. When I am down I can sleep about 17 hours a day - but it's all broken - I rarely sleep well. My sleep is a good indication of where I am in my cycle. On the other hand, I am finding that since starting with Slimming World to lose weight (and drinking a lot less alcohol) I am sleeping better. Friends who are on the 5:2 fast diet also record that they sleep very well on their "fast" days. There are other issues of course. Being a night owl (and a lark - although I do love a siesta) I find it difficult to discipline myself to go to bed early - especially when all my friends on the other side of the Atlantic are still partying on Facebook! I concur with Michael above - keep that bedroom cool!

Duma Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 4:16pm

I use Argus, it nags me.

Very well indeed.

Cheers, Duma.

The Gardener Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 6:12pm

Good blog for those who have any hope of emulating the system. I have managed, of which I'm proud, to get back to sleep after whatever disturbance Mr G can think up. Even managing to conquer the '3 a.m blues' when all problems are exaggerated and insoluble. I drink and eat too much - sad and exhausted most of the time - and a regular exercise is out of the question. Keep trying to work things out - but Mr G has taken a turn for the worse in attitude and character - and our income is reduced by 14%, so the idea of increasing respite is currently out of the question. But achievements on our habitat are getting lots of achievements - a genius of a guy is on my wavelength for ingenuity on a shoe-string - so my comforting wander round the house before bed is getting better. I get about 5/6 hours sleep a night, not really enough - usually manage a siesta, but not today, then I get ragged

The Gardener Fri, Oct 14th 2016 @ 6:13pm

2nd 'achievements' should be 'compliments'.

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