Sleeping Better

I’ve been running for two years, and in that time, I’ve only run two races. The first was a 5K, the second a 10K.

This weekend, I am running a 5K again, the same race I did two years ago. This time, however, I am determined to eat better, sleep better, and train better. Even if I only knock a couple of minutes off my time, the important thing is that act like I actually care about myself and train right.

Better Sleep
OK, I titled this sleeping better and that’s really what it’s about, not running. I need to sleep better. Who doesn’t?

I think that I sleep OK. Not really good, not really bad, just OK. I’ve had horrible back problems in the past, but that was due to poor posture and an office chair, not a mattress.

I’ve slept on mattresses, couches, futons. cots, yoga mats, and even the floor. Sleeping directly on the floor is a bit firm, but I can be OK with it if needed. My favorite surface is the platform I made, from simple pieces of lumber, with an inexpensive mattress topper. For our bedroom, I made a second identical platform but unfortunately I had to compromise with the wife and go with a memory foam topper that we had on our old bed, plus the new mattress topper I had bought.

My sleeping surface isn’t so much of a problem as my nighttime habits. I watch TV before I go to bed in the living room; then I go to bed and turn the TV in the bedroom and watch another hour of TV. Even though I’m drifting off to sleep, it’s not a fast process.

Search around the web for tips on sleeping and I can guarantee you won’t find any instructions on how long you should watch TV in the bedroom.

Why? Because distractions, be they TV, music, or video games keep you from falling asleep correctly. Think about it: what wakes you up in the morning? An alarm clock? Sunlight? Light sources tell your brain to keep staying awake, darkness signals time for sleep (in general).

After trying to sleep without the TV for a few days, it all makes perfect sense. I don’t even turn on the TV in the bedroom now. I’m trying to go to bed at the same time everyday to establish a good pattern of sleep.

If I get up in the morning and I need to wake up faster, I immediately turn on as many lights in the house as I can. Without fail, I start to wake up as my eyes see the light. I also might do some very light exercise to get my blood flowing and speed up the process.

I guess I have to move the TV from the bedroom for good, lest I be tempted into turning on the monster that keeps me from sleep. I’ll probably have to sell it, since there is nowhere else in our small house for it to go (well, reasonably anyway). It will be one less thing drawing power in my house as well, in addition to freeing up the bedroom a little more space-wise.

My new sleep routine is to go to bed at the same time each night, and lay down in the darkened room and focus on breathing and getting to sleep. So far, it’s working.

Do you have trouble sleeping? What’s your sleep routine?


5 thoughts on “Sleeping Better

  1. Whenever I use electronics (TV, computer, phone) before bed, it always takes me longer to fall asleep. You’re on the right track and good luck with the5k. 🙂

      1. That would be awesome. I’m sure with the extra precautions you’ll accomplish your goal. I can run a 9 minute mile for a few miles, but I mostly run half marathons, where my pace slows a bit over the distance to 10 min or more. My fastest time was at a midnight race. 2:03 🙂

  2. We’ve always had a no TV in the bedroom policy. There’s not even music in there most of time. I used to have horrible battles with insomnia (before I had twins) and the first recommendation I got was to keep the bedroom as calm and soothing as possible. I was in a dorm at the time, and stopped using my bed as furniture except for sleeping. It helped a great deal. I’ve also heard that TV in particular stimulates a part of our brain that then makes it harder to sleep. Blech.

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