Virtual She’s Geeky — August 8, 2020
Session 3 / Space C
Convener: Tova Solomon
Notes-taker(s): Emily Yang
Discussion notes, key understandings, outstanding questions, observations, and, if appropriate to this discussion: action items, next steps:
Tova: studied biology, not sleep. Trying to modify sleep patterns. 3rd talk on this topic.
It takes a whole day to get a good night’s sleep. Try to incorporate one thing at a time.
8am-start the day. Hopefully the night before, had a good night’s sleep. Get out of bed as soon as possible. One of the things that regulates your sleep is how much light you’re seeing throughout the day. So in the morning, you want to get some sunlight as soon as possible. Recommends opening your curtains. In Addition, food regulates sleep. If your body knows to eat at a particular time your body is less likely to be tired. Have some food, even if it’s light. Just getting your stomach working.
Then the next step is stopping your caffeine intake. Caffeine stays in your body anywhere between 4-12 hours. I split the differences, if I plan to go to sleep at midnight, then I’ll stop drinking caffeine by 4pm. Caffeine prevents sleep as opposed to walking you up.
Your body will adjust overtime.
Next step, about 10pm. I try to greatly reduce my screen usage. And don’t eat after 10pm as well.
We didn’t evolve with screens, your body will think the screen light means daylight, so it keeps you awake. So, keep things as dark and quiet as possible. Easiest way is to get a sleep mask. It’s easier to cover your own eyes. It might take some time to adjust to sleeping with something on your face.
This is also when I do my daily chores, clean up around my room, stuff that isn’t very interesting, but more interesting than not doing anything. Hit that minimum level of interest.
Do some light stretches, exercise, so that you’re physically tired in addition to being mentally tired.
The latest you want for this is half an hour before bed.
Once I’m in bed, I try to sleep in the same position, every night. Get that consistency. This was a challenge for me. Pay attention to what position you wake up in.
If not asleep, I do a simple meditation. I take a deep breath. Imagine it going all the way down to my toes. Exhale, second deep breath, the base of my toes. Just moving up and up until all of my muscles are totally relaxed. It’s boring enough so that I’m capable of falling asleep. It blocks any interesting thoughts that might keep me awake. Some people use a boring podcast, you want to set a timer on this. Recommend using earplugs, they’re quiet noise, but it’s not a perfect solution.
That’s the optimal day for getting to sleep. I’ve built this up over the years. If I want to change, I change things up one at a time. If change too much, stop, it’s hard to get back, because it’s like going 0 to 60.
C: How do you do this when you share a bed with a partner?
T: Part of it is, after turning off screens for the night. It is a lot of teamwork. There were some alarms that would have helped me wake up fast, but those got vetoed. I dont have perfect solution, but it is a shared goal that we have.
C: How do you break the habit… my phone is my partner… It’s hard to shut it off. It’s very dark in my room. It’s very hard to turn it off, before I go to sleep. I used an app now that’s recording my sleeping.
T: If I don’t’ get a good night’s sleep, I get tired throughout the day. If I don’t use the whole method, I’m more tired frequently. When I am using it, I’m wide awake up until I’m doing some stretches and then I get tired very quickly. People think its something that just tired and not controllable, but I think a better way to frame is you are giving yourself the stimulus to activate the sleep. It takes time and consistency. The things that have immediate results are having a darker room to sleep in. Turning off your screens earlier. Stop your caffeine intake earlier. Journaling, track how you’re feeling. Track to see if you’re having brain fog all the time, etc. one possible source is you’re not getting enough sleep. If you start keeping track of it. If you write, I got a good night’s sleep, you feel well the next day.
E: Blue light apps on your phone might be able to help.
Tova: They have mixed reviews. It reminds me of what time it is if I have 2 hours of screen time left. It does help me, because when it turns on, I know need to start gearing down for the evening.
Cindy: Is there an optimal position to sleep in?
Tova: While it’s probably different for everyone. For most people, it’s beneficial to sleep on your back. It also depends on your mattress. If you have heartburn or __ issues, so sleeping on the other side, it is beneficial. For me, I do sleep on my back. The meditation helped me with that. I stopped waking up with a kink in my neck since I’ve slept on my back.
Emily: It’s funny that you mentioned podcasts. Last year I trained myself to listen to NPR at night to fall asleep. I’ve been lucky that my partner can’t hear it because of his CPAP machine. Also, I agree with exercise. If exercise, I’ll be exhausted for the night or the night after and fall asleep fast. When I don’t exercise, I’d be wide awake at 1 am.