Sleepless editor is cranky (Julie’s better-sleep experiment, Part 6)
Read Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Julie A. Palm, editor in chief
When Dr. Robert Oexman, director of Kingsdown’s Sleep to Live Institute, gave me the list of changes he wanted me to make to my habits and environment to help me sleep better, he warned me that, once I started to implement them, I wouldn’t like him very much.
Certainly not, I thought. Oexman is a nice guy.
But just a few days into my new sleep pattern, I’m not liking Oexman much at all. I really don’t like him at 11 p.m., when I’m tired and want to be in bed. But Oexman has advised that I set my bedtime back one hour in an effort to reset my body. I can’t go to bed until midnight.
Other changes he’s suggested:
- Stop taking Benadryl to help me sleep and start taking melatonin instead.
- Use a white-noise machine. (He’s graciously sending me one to use.)
- Wear an eye mask.
- Start dimming lights around the house about an hour before bed.
- Stop reading and watching TV in bed.
- Keep my pets out of the bedroom. (Confession: This is the one suggestion I have yet to follow.)
- Stop drinking liquids after 7 p.m. (Oddly, this change is among the hardest. I find myself getting really thirsty while I’m sitting in the living room thinking evil thoughts about Oexman. But, I have to admit, it’s working. I’m getting up about once a night to use the bathroom instead of my usual two or three times.)
- Stop taking naps. (This makes me think bad thoughts about Oexman, too. A Sunday afternoon nap is one of the great luxuries in life.)
- If I am awake in the middle of the night for more than 20 minutes, I’m supposed to go in another room and meditate, pray or stretch—no watching TV, reading, writing in a journal or doing anything else that requires turning on a light.
Cranky as I am, I’m willing to stick with the program. The payoff is supposed to be a better night’s sleep, plus more energy and less sleepiness during the day. That would be more than worth a little discomfort right now.