Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Quest For The Perfect Sleep

I came across this post from Modern Paleo and it got me thinking about my own sleep patterns.  I know a lot of people discuss what amazing sleeps they have while eating paleo.  I have had moments of perfect sleep as well, but I don't seem to have the consistency of it night after night.

Getting to bed by 10 pm is ideal for us.  Our circadian rhythm dictates a healing process and between the hours of 10pm to 2am our bodies engage in physical repair. During the hours of 2 am to 6 am our bodies engage in mental repair.

I work from 12 pm to 8 pm during the week and I'm usually home just before 9 pm.  I spend an hour with my husband before he leaves for work at 10 pm (he works nights) and then I take the rest of what's left of my evening to unwind, catch up on blogs and entertain my needy cats.  I start to get sleepy around 11:30 pm.  At this point I'm already well into my "repair window" and this may have a lot to do with my ability to deal with stress and get the restful sleep I need.  I am clearly in disrepair.

My sleep is slightly interrupted throughout the night.  I awake briefly when changing positions and sometimes I hear my husband come home in the wee hours of the morning,  Other times I won't hear a thing.  The other day my colleagues were talking about a wicked thunderstorm that happened.  It seem to wake everyone up but I didn't hear a thing and slept right through it.

I thought about the best sleep I've ever had and it happened back in April when my husband and I spent three weeks in Japan.  We stayed with a good friend of mine and her mother and were offered the guest room with 2 large futons side by side.  The futons appeared to be thick and soft but when I went to bed that first night, I could feel the hardness of the floor beneath me.  I thought I would wake up with back and neck pain, but quite the opposite.  I slept right through the night without interruption and I woke up feeling really refreshed.  I was so excited to go to bed everynight; it was the best sleep of my life!  Even with all the abuse I went through with poor eating, intestinal upset and walking a million miles a day, the one consistant positive was my sleep.

We were so physically exhausted everyday that it was easy for us to crash as soon as we got back to our futons and most days we were in bed by 10 pm.  My husband experienced the same great sleep and he suffers from terrible neck kinks and back and shoulder issues.  I was up by 7 am most mornings, muscles so sore from the day before I had new born deer legs, but I still felt refreshed from an amazing sleep.

I'll try a little experiment for the next couple of weeks with sleeping on the floor.  I understand the importance of getting to bed by 10 pm and even if that doesn't leave me much of an evening, I'm at a point where I seriously need to address my issues with stress.  I'll attempt to recreate my futon experience tonight and report back in a few weeks.

Sweet dreams.


  1. Have you tried the Sleep Cycle app? I've found that it has helped me get a better sleep (even for someone like me that only sleeps on average 5.5 hrs a night). Or at least, it seems to wake me up at a time when my body doesn't feel like a bag of smashed lead. :)

  2. Since October of last year I've been sleeping on the carpet. At first it was because I didn't have a bed, but after a week I decided to not bother with the bed.

    I sleep great, and tend to have back aches when I sleep in a "proper" bed.

    I'm thinking of getting a real futon mattress (read: not that thing that is part of a couch) since I'm single and I doubt "Why yes, that sheet on the carpet on the floor with a duvet over it is my bed" would go over very well.
    Oh course there are some girls I know that would be an exception...

  3. It's not hard for me to make myself go to sleep at an early time. Since I have CFS, I have a hard time keeping myself up past 9. I usually sleep from 10 or 10:30 to 6- 7.I do wake up a few times in the night but usually fall back asleep. I was taking 3 mg of melatonin and that helped me fall asleep. The past two nights I didn't take and fell asleep fine!

    How have you been doing with going to bed by 10? That would be hard since you get home at 8. That's when my husband gets home from work and he usually stays up until 11.