The Sleep Cleanse
Dear Funny Problems,
At night, after the dishes are done and the kids are in bed, I enjoy zoning out on the couch in front of some series I discovered on Netflix. However, instead of pulling the plug after one or two episodes, I continue to watch. No matter how tired I am or how stupid the show, I relish this uninterrupted television time and cannot remove myself from the sofa. I know I need the sleep. I know I will feel better if I just go to bed. However, rational thought does not prevail and I eventually fall asleep in front of the TV, only to wake up at 2 A.M. and crawl up to bed. The next morning I wake up exhausted, vowing not to do it again.
Please, help me break this cycle. I am tired of being tired.
Midnight Couch Potato
Dear Mrs. Potato
Your problem is twofold. Not only have the Netflix and television overlords made it very difficult to turn away from the screen, you also enjoy the alone time. It’s something you look forward to, I get it. And as far as vices go, you could do worse. But this behavior isn’t bringing you joy. You need a new nighttime routine that you can be excited about that will also leave you feeling refreshed in the morning.
I was in a real bad funk this past year in regards to sleep. After a few months of feeling lousy I embarked on what I would refer to as my “Sleep Cleanse.” It’s all about creating a new nightly ritual filled with things that make you a happier you.
The Sleep Cleanse:
Step 1 – This new nightly ritual has to be fun or you won’t want to do it. You need to make your bedroom as alluring as the TV room couch. Fresh flowers, books, magazines, a tall glass of water or some decaf tea. Whatever it takes to make it the relaxing oasis you will be excited to retreat to at the end of a long day. It’s all about you.
Step 2 – Set a “get into bed” time. You don’t necessarily have to go to sleep at this time, but you do have to be in your bed at a certain time. It can’t be too late, or you will risk falling asleep on the couch. I would suggest no later than 10:00 pm. Sorry to be a party pooper but you’re the one writing in because you are having this problem.
Step 3 – Stick with it. You are breaking an old pattern and replacing it with a new one. You need to be consistent. But if you are following Step 1 then this shouldn’t be an issue. The goal is to take delight in bedtime.
This is not a punishment so there is no need to apply force. Once you figure out what your new nightly ritual will be I can guarantee that you will look forward to it every night.
Sweet dreams MCP