Yes! It’s true! A new challenge! How exciting! *strikes an imaginary cheerleader pose*
This fortnight, I will aim to get up before midday.
Problematic sleeping habits have always been a major source of difficulty for me. Various things over the years have contributed to poor sleep habits (and continue to), and it has become easier to fall into bad patterns than it is to maintain good ones. Therefore, improving my sleep is something that I need to constantly revisit and nurture. In recent years, I’ve been going to sleep later and therefore getting up later. It’s usual for me not to sleep until at least 1:00am and not uncommon for me to not settle down until after 3:00am. This is not exactly insomnia, it’s more like 11:00pm-3:00am currently feels like 8:00pm-midnight would to most people. (Well, perhaps netizens are the wrong people to talk to about “normal” sleeping patterns!)
Rather than trying to bed and to sleep earlier, however, I’m focusing getting up earlier and not staying in bed til late. Getting up earlier is actually a more effective way for me to feel sleepy earlier at night than changing my nighttime routine and hoping I feel sleepy. Because current work is casual, I haven’t been forced into a routine of consistently getting up early.
An additional reason for targeting my morning habits is that, in recent years, I have genuinely developed the habit of lazing around in bed even after I wake up. It’s largely because I often don’t sleep well, and so wake up with little energy (or even a headache or migraine). I don’t want to get up and face the day. Instead, I’ll indulge my instant-gratification addiction and read on my phone or play games. Until after midday. Sometimes, until late afternoon. Obviously, when I have a migraine, it’s not as if I’ll be doing anything more productive once I get up anyway, but this has produced a general habit of staying in bed rather than getting up.
Ideally, I’d be getting up by 8:00am on non-work days,
springing out of bed with a joyful song. That’s clearly an unrealistic expectation right now, so I’m starting with the more moderate goal of getting up before midday, while it’s actually still morning. This may not miraculously fix all of my negative sleeping habits, but it will hopefully become easier to actually get myself out of bed. And it can’t be worse for getting sleep at night than if I get up only a few hours before the evening arrives…
My other aim is to add in at least 20 minutes of leisure time that doesn’t involve technology – more specifically, that doesn’t involve my laptop, phone or TV (listening to music is fine). There are a variety of reasons that this is desirable for me (such as using tech too much before sleeping), but there are two main motivations this fortnight.
The first motivation is to help with my eyes. While I am always careful about things such as turning on the blue light filter/night mode and having adequate lighting while looking at screens, my eyes currently need extra care. Since significant health problems cropped up a few years ago, my eyes have been more sensitive to strain (and they’ve always been sensitive to light/glare, which is a migraine trigger for me). About a year ago, my optometrist noted that my eyes seem to be drier than they should be, and are not producing enough moisture. Among the various environmental causes, she emphasised that technology such as computer and mobile screens are likely to have an effect.
Obviously, I decreased the length of time I used technology.
The second reason is that it has become a habit-bordering-on-addiction to spend time all my free time on my laptop or mobile. I’ve always enjoyed using the internet in various ways, but the increase primarily came about because my health and energy is low, and therefore my mind is noticeably less nimble and vigorous. The internet provides things such as manga, anime, videos and webnovels that are passive, easily-digestible forms of entertainment for my sluggish brain. Clearly, this habit needs to be changed, at least a little. If it affects my eyes, my sleep and my motivation for doing other things I need or wish to do, then it shouldn’t be monopolising my time as it currently is.
I don’t necessarily intend to do something “productive” with that time; that’s not really the point of this. My aim is to expand the variety of things I feel like doing for relaxation and enjoyment to include things beyond the laptop, mobile or TV. One of the reasons I spend so much time on the computer is that on the internet these days I can find a lot of the things I’ve always enjoyed anyway. Of course, this means I can also do those things in the offline, non-digital way, right?
(P.S. This is one of those weeks where I could probably switch and re-word it to be something like “Drop Tech-based Activities, Add Getting Up Earlier”, but somehow I feel more like I’m decreasing time in bed and inserting a different activity into my day, so it’s the way it is.)