Cortisol is the hormone that wakes you up. Melatonin is what makes you sleepy. To me, Cortisol is a barrel-chested man who bumps into the furniture and then utters a useless “Oh – sorry about that.” Melatonin is just like Miss Melly in Gone with the Wind (“Mel” being the link, of course) – long-suffering and sweet and pale and inclined to dying after birthin’ a baby like an obedient little wet blanket. She won’t stand a chance against Cort unless I get him back on his own orbit and off of hers.
Surprisingly, it takes MORE than 24 hours to reset those cortisol levels… Go figure.
On my first night of at least 14 planned nights of attempting to regulate my sleep, I fell short of the plan – but I’m working on moderation. If I’m not PERFECT, I’m not allowed to give up. I just have to keep working on it.
So the plan was to enter the “no screens” hour before bedtime by 10-ish, but I went out to dinner with friends and we sat around for a LONG time yakking and giggling, so I ran late. (But I ate no sugar! Yay me!)
Still, I did my yoga moves, and re-arranged my bedroom a little (it’s been years since I needed a good reading light by my bed) and was in bed reading by 11:15. What did I read? An ancient copy of “Leave it to Psmith” by PG Wodehouse that I know I loved about four decades ago but can no longer remember.
Still not sure I love it again; I got about five pages in and crashed with an audible thud. Thursdays are my big work-out days (Balance Class with Barbara followed by Stretch Class with Grace) so I tend to be tired anyway. Virtuously, I turned out my light at 11:30.
I’m deeply susceptible to suggestion, so once Chip told me that my late-night Damn-it’s-hot flashes were influenced by sugar – and once I skipped dessert for the first time since God was a pup – I slept right through the usual 2:30 – 3:30 wake-up phase. Nice!
Still, when the alarm went off at 8:30, I had my usual morning GAK response.
(The word GAK as typified by Bill the Cat in some comic long gone now is best expanded as me thinking “There is NO WAY IN HELL I’m getting out of bed this early; it’s cruel and unusual to even contemplate it. I will belligerently roll over and go back to sleep with malice of forethought.”) (See? Saying GAK is faster.)
But going to bed at a reasonable hour is only going to work if I get up at a reasonable hour too, and eventually my goal is 7:30 every morning. (The dog is going to LOVE this plan.) My wake-up hormone (cortisol) is supposed to be peaking about as the sun rises, and I need to train it to follow the light/dark pattern so the far-less-activist melatonin can have the chance to make me sleepy in the evening.
So setting the alarm (for 8:30 today) is only part of the agony; I also have to GET UP. Today it took 15 minutes, but I was vertical (and grumpy about it) by 8:45. Okay, maybe 8:50. Hell, I don’t remember. Too early for me, too late for the plan – so we call that a compromise and move on.
I was a slacker until 1, but then did have a very productive afternoon, including running stairs – at a pace that could only be called “running” if you were feeling very kindly toward me, showering, anointing myself with various unguents and potions, taking down all the indoor Xmas decorations, doing all the laundry (okay, there are still bed sheets to be folded), and plotting the plan of attack for a goth baby blanket for my future great-niece or nephew. (I’m going to knit a stormy purple blanket and then duplicate-stitch in a crimson spider web with a large, menacing red spider lowering down to land on the outstretched hand reaching out of a cradle… may need a schpoot of help with the art!) (Doesn’t that sound cool? And good for a very goth couple?)
I’m watching the clock carefully. Knowing I’m going to have to put all screens aside by 9 or so has made me jealous of my screen time. Like a middle-school kid with a curfew. Do I REALLY want to waste my time on solitaire?!
Did you know that you CAN pee without a phone or tablet in your hand? I know. Astonishing.