How I am monitoring my sleep these days

Sleep and Mood are so much linked. I was told this again and again while in hospital in ’97, ’98, ’99.

How to sleep well and monitoring hours slept was a big part of the self-management courses I started attending in June 2000 and went on to teach for the next few years.

I became so good at glancing at the clock every time I woke that I could plot how long I was sleeping to the nearest few minutes and did this for about 12 years. This helped me manage medications and gradually reduce the amount I needed.

It was sometime after coming off all the medications that I came to appreciate the habit I had of looking at the clock the moment I woke, any time, day or night, might be less than ideal.

Just recently I have adopted a new way of sleep monitoring. It is not so precise yet, for me, is very easy. I’d like to share with you.

How I am monitoring my sleep these days

How much influence caffeine has on sleep varies a lot from person-to-person. Many people cope easily with lots of caffeine as teenagers, then by 30, 40, 50 years old suddenly find that coffee late in the day disrupts their sleep. Timing of caffeine intake has certainly been a factor for me for decades.

I was not sleeping well for the first half of 2019, then decided to record every time I had any caffeine. I log how much and at what time for coffee, tea, dark chocolate and cocoa. The immediate effect was that I consumed a little less caffeine and within days I was sleeping better.

I did not plot these results until a few months after moving house and finding I was waking too often in the night. Then the idea of plotting my first drink of the day came to me. This tells me a lot about my sleep because one way I manage my mood is to go to bed when I am tired which most nights is about the same time. Then because I almost always make a hot drink within minutes of getting up, I had near enough been recording my getting up time.

It was a visiting friend who said they were unable to tolerate the chemicals from new carpets that prompted me to keep my bedroom window open all day and all night. The graph reveals a step change from the first 24 hours I kept that window open.

Sleep and MoodHere are just a few of the things I find influence my sleep:

  • Caffeine
  • Fresh air
  • Cool bedroom with enough bedding to stay warm
  • Distanced walked in a day (especially in the evening) matches well with hours slept
  • Not eating late
  • No excessive drinking in evening
  • Darkness – This did not use to matter to me, but sleeping at the front of my new house on a road with only a little traffic at night – each set of car headlights seemed to disrupt my sleep, so now, no gaps in curtains.

 

About Roger Smith (in the UK)
Helping you to think about bipolar disorder in different ways so that we can eliminate the disorder and eventually eliminate the need for this diagnosis.

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