Counting sheep

I have never been good at sleeping: I’ve had difficulties with insomnia since I was too young to know what insomnia was, and most sleep aids take a long time to kick in after I take them, so I wake up feeling groggy and less than refreshed.  Melatonin was doing the trick for a while, but then it turned my vivid, fun, bright dreams into these awful nightmares.  Waking up to the sound of your own screaming is not fun, let me tell you.

I’ve been using an app called Sleep Cycle to try to track my overnight movements.  It’s less creepy than putting my camera into video mode and setting it to record.  I’ve used it for four nights now, and I’ve noticed a few interesting things:

  • I woke up between 1:45 and 2 in the morning three of the four nights I’ve run the app.  I don’t remember waking up any of those nights, but when I have woken up out of a dead sleep and been awake enough to check the time, it’s generally between 1:30 and 2:15.
  • Even on the day off I’ve had since I started using Sleep Cycle, I woke up at about the time I would have been leaving for work.  I vaguely remember being terrified that I’d overslept.
  • I toss and turn a fair bit the first hour or so I’m in bed.
  • I sleep much more deeply after my 2 am random wakeup.  It’s almost like I anticipate that I’m going to wake up then, so I don’t let myself get into a deep sleep until it’s over with.
  • Waking up is much less traumatic with the alarm sounds this app uses than it was before…when I had an annoying alarm set as loud as I could and put my phone somewhere that would require me to get up to shut off the alarm.

I’m interested to see what this app will say about my sleep habits the longer I use it.  I think it’s supposed to take about a week of nightly use to start giving long-term feedback on sleep habits.  Short of setting up my camera to record me sleeping (which is creepy and would require enough light in my room that I wouldn’t get any sleep), this is probably the best way I have of figuring out why, even when I go to bed early enough to get eight or nine hours of sleep, I always feel like I got hit by a bus when I get up.  And knowing what’s going on might help me finally get a good night’s sleep.

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