Can’t Catch Those Damn Z’s…

I have always had a problem with sleep. Well, I guess I can’t say always, but for a long time. Sometimes I can’t sleep… other times I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. The real kicker is that I’ll make it through a day on four hours of sleep, but then be unable to sleep that night.

Caffeine? No, not really an issue. I have my morning coffee, about 20oz in a travel mug. Sometimes I don’t finish it. Sometimes it is half de-caff. I rarely have coke or anything during the day. If I have tea, it’s usually herbal. I am not a highly caffeinated person and because of this, I am sensitive to it. I can’t handle it; makes me twitchy.

Exercise? Well, not as often as I want, but even when I do work out, it doesn’t seem to help. I have been pretty good lately, so maybe that will start helping. Maybe it needs a bit to kick in. I also try hard not to exercise fiercely too close to bedtime because that is supposed to prevent sleep, too.

Drugs? Herbs? Yes. I have tried both. Also melatonin. Do they work. Yes. But I feel super groggy in the morning. I would also like to be able to sleep on a regular basis without the need to ingest something to force it. I want to be like regular people who only use sleep aids on occasion (or while on shift work), but normally just sleep.

The only thing that I have not tried is keeping a semi-regular sleep schedule. When I do sleep, I sleep like a boss. I can rack up 12 hours worth of sleep. I tend to do that on the weekends. I either stay up late and then sleep in or just sleep a multitude of hours… sometimes both. I think this might be tipping the scale. I would blame the damage that working shifts for 3.5 years did, but I had issues before I did that. Although maybe that compounded it.

The Attack? Two prongs:

  1. I will not allow myself to sleep more than about 8 hours a night on weekends. When I do, it just leads to me staying up later, which brings me to
  2. I will not stay up super late on the weekends. I usually go to bed between 2030 and 2130, although sometimes as late as 2200, on week nights. (Don’t judge! My alarm goes off at 0430!) I will try and stick close to that on the weekends. Of course, I type that line at 2230 on the first weekend I am trying it. Although that is just a little later than normal.

I read an article recently, although for the life of me I cannot find it, that said that shifting your sleep schedule on the weekends by as little as two hours can significantly disrupt your sleep during the week. Maybe that is true. If it is, then hopefully assigning myself bed times and wake up times on the weekend will help me catch those daggum elusive Z’s.

I’ll let you know how this goes.

Do your Z’s elude you regularly or just sometimes? What do you do to catch the buggers?

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