Bedtime procrastination

Iphone 3GS

I have not been sleeping well for months now.

I could say I don’t know why, but I do: I’ve been staying on my phone until the wee hours. It’s become a bad habit that’s hard to quit.

It started innocently enough. When I first put the CPAP mask on, it’s hard for me to breathe in rhythm with the machine. I feel panicky and claustrophobic. Distracting myself helps; taking my mind off my breath lets it fall into the prescribed pattern more quickly. It’s easy to grab my phone to read something as a distraction, and I don’t need to turn a light on and disturb David.

Unfortunately, one article becomes two, one game of Ticket to Ride becomes fifteen, one peek at Twitter becomes an hour of mindless scrolling… and before I know it, I have been up for half the night.

I have been distracted from the CPAP, though, so I guess it has served some purpose.

(Of course, the energetic feeling that getting-enough-oxygen is supposed to give me gets canceled right out by getting-only-a-few-hours-of-sleep.)

Apparently, I am not the only one with this problem. Researchers have realized that “bedtime procrastination” – something that I used to associate with Quinland’s endless excuses for not going to bed at night – is a brand-new sleep disorder that has serious ramifications for physical and mental health. Lack of sleep can cause difficulty concentrating, poor decision-making, and impaired reaction times, as well as lowered immunity, weight gain, and heart disease. Hmmm… I may have every one of those but the heart disease. Yet.

So I’ve decided to give my electronic devices a rest at night. I will put on the CPAP mask before 11 pm and then play ONE game of Ticket to Ride (which takes exactly six minutes – plenty of time to get settled in). I’ll then turn my phone off and get to sleep. I’ve done it successfully for two nights already! Let’s see if I can keep it up.

I’ve got 10 minutes to get to bed. Good night, y’all.

Iphone 3GS” by Aitor Aguirregabiria / CC BY

Too sleepy for words

Dang, I’m tired. I was up half the night with a stressed Quinland and my own stomach problems, and tonight, I’m just going to have to postpone writing anything here. I’m falling asleep at the computer, which is never a good sign.

I’ve decided to forgive myself for not being able to put two thoughts together… and just go to bed. So, I love you all, but I’m going to sleep.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Watch the evening tire

Late-night screen time is a problem at our house. All three of us can be found on screens before bed: David on Board Game Geek or Blazer’s Edge, Quinland texting or doing homework online (or doing both simultaneously), and I… well, let’s just say I have fallen asleep clutching my phone one too many times with a half-read Jane Austen fan fiction story on the screen.

I’ve rationalized it away in the past: we’re all reading! That’s no different than reading books! It’s a great way to relax before bed! But my studies at the University of Google Medical School have shown that the light emitted by electronic devices can actually disrupt our body clocks and delay the production of melatonin, which helps people fall asleep. No wonder we are all feeling sleep-deprived!

As always, this inspired a new Family Scheme. My solution was simple: no electronics after 10 pm. But I decided to add an additional wrinkle as well: going electricity-free at 10, lights out, electronics off. Up until now, we haven’t been able to change through willpower; perhaps we will be able to change through countless evenings of boredom.

fireplace by shay sowden

We’ve only done it one night, but it was a rousing success. Quinland built a fire in the fireplace, and we all sat around in the firelight reminiscing about our Europe trip, reminding each other of little details and comparing our favorite places. It was wonderful to have that time together, and rather than being upset about losing his phone for the night, Q was thrilled to get to build a fire, something we rarely do.

Q’s rehearsal for the play has gotten in the way since then – it’s their Hell Week right now – but I think the experiment has merit. We all relaxed, spent quality time together, and got to sleep at a decent hour. I’m so convinced, in fact, that I’ve stocked up on firewood for the week and talked with a neighbor about sharing in a cord of wood. Bring your marshmallows the next time you come over!

Many thanks to shay sowden for the photo.