Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sleep Shift

Beginning in September (because isn’t September always about new beginnings?), I will be going back to training twice per week with Patty, my delightful, encouraging, motivational, highly-experienced personal trainer at Spa Lady. In the summer, due to my work schedule and Patty’s (usually fully booked) schedule, we couldn’t find two times to train that worked for us both, so I dropped it back to once. I am mowing my lawn, gardening and hedge trimming so those weekly workouts weren’t really missed – I thought.

However, there is a discipline that comes with scheduled commitments which is missing and my nutritional intake changed. Targeted strength training only once per week is not enough, so I am committing to twice a week at an early morning time.

I can no longer be nocturnal. This is probably a good thing.

My question to you is, have you ever successfully shifted your sleep patterns to “early to bed, early to rise” when you were previously a night owl? If so, what tips do you have to help me succeed in this new commitment? I know I can’t switch cold turkey from going to bed at 10 p.m. instead of midnight. It’s like jet lag.

My total shift for the new schedule will be a full two hours, so it’s like I’ve moved to the east coast. I tried to go to bed earlier last night but it turned into one of those interrupted nights, with the dog unusually restless, waking me at 4:30 a.m. and again at 6:24 (a standard happening), well before my regular 7:30 a.m. alarm.

Ideas I’m trying:

  1. Start going to bed about 15 minutes earlier, increasing by 15 minute increments earlier each 4-5 days from now until then. 
  2. Plan to shift my work hours to arrive earlier on the four days I work so I’m early to bed, early to rise *every* day.
  3. Catch up on lost sleep on Saturday and Sunday mornings

I’d love hearing your input, if you have succeeded. If you’ve failed at this, no need to comment because I do failure really well already. (smile)

I can do this!


  1. I think like most things it is a matter of doing. I have grand plans that I often fail at because I plan well, but I don't do well. Good luck!

  2. something I read a couple of days, advises not to sleep in on weekends or it totally interrupts the pattern.

  3. I recently switched from working day shift, early riser, to working second shift...and still wanted to be an early riser due to my not wanting to miss a thing! I found that I needed to realize that, in life, you have to miss some things. I needed to decide what things were most important for me not to miss and let everything else go. I constantly find myself brining myself back to center choosing to let some good things go in order to enjoy the best things...spending time with God, spending time with my granddaughter, spending time on my health, etc.
    I then consciously arrange my life and sleep patterns to work with those things that are best for me in my life.
    Try to work with your body's natural rhythm. For instance, if you need to get up early to do what you have chosen as best, then get up early and pay attention at night to when your energy is flagging. When you do get tired at night, just stop all other plans and go to bed. Don't force what you think is a good plan. Give your body time to discover what it needs and then arrange your activities to reflect the schedule you need for rest.