Julie’s better-sleep experiment, Part I

Julie A. Palm
Julie A. Palm, editor in chief

When you are editor in chief of two magazines devoted to the mattress industry, it’s more than a little awkward to admit that you have trouble sleeping.

We run articles about the latest sleep research in every issue of BedTimes and Sleep Savvy. I know the importance of sleep to my health. Sometimes when I’m lying awake at night, I think about all the damage I might be doing to my long-term physical and mental health—everything from increasing my risk of cardiovascular disease to gaining weight to squashing my creativity.

You’ve probably heard that reciting a list of words can induce sleep. But trust me: Repeating “heart attack, diabetes, impaired memory, stroke, heart attack, diabetes, impaired memory, stroke…” will leave you even more wide awake than ever.

Earlier this year, I talked about my sleep troubles during a conversation with Dr. Robert Oexman, director of Kingsdown’s Sleep to Live Institute, and Craig Wilson, director of sales training and education for the mattress maker. The Sleep to Live Institute developed Kingsdown’s bedMATCH diagnostic system for mattress selection and is committed to researching and developing techniques and technologies to improve sleep.

Wilson suggested I work with Oexman, who has created a six-week cognitive behavioral therapy program for insomnia. And so I am.

After an initial meeting with Oexman where I outlined some of my sleep troubles and he explained his program, I’m now wearing all day and night an Actigraph (a bracelet that measures my activity level, among other things) and writing each day in a sleep diary. After two weeks, I’ll meet again with Oexman, and we’ll map out changes to both my environment and daily habits that should help to improve my sleep.

Throughout the process, I’ll be blogging about the experience here and then writing about it in the print magazines when it’s all over.

Oexman is confident he can help me sleep better. I hope he’s right: I’m really tired (pun very much intended) of not getting enough sleep.