July 2nd, 2019

I think I have figured out the negative pattern that I keep getting trapped into in my health and wellbeing. It’s no surprise that sleep is at the heart of this because fatigue has been the crux of my problems for years. The average person working in a profession like mine loses something close to an hour of sleep a night to restlessness, and in my age group, I am meant to be getting 8 to 10 hours sleep a night.

I have the Fitbit to supplement this data now, so I can see a clear pattern matching my personal journal, blog and sleep stats together. With my diet under full control, it has never been clearer that rest is my crisis area. I am averaging after taking out the restless and awake minutes about 7 hours and thirty to forty minutes, not even meeting the low end.

None of this was too much of a surprise for me, even if I have already made changes in line with it. This includes the acceptance that while I can get up at 7 each day, I should prioritise enough sleep before carving out the morning. But I did spot a pattern that I never appreciated until I saw it laid out before me.

It turns out there is one night’s sleep that shapes whether the week ahead will be restful or restless. I’ve buried the lead there, but it’s the Sunday-Monday night, and how much rest I get over it. My pattern goes that this is my peak, and then the rest of the week sees a gradual knock-on effect of losing sleep until it resets and moulds around Friday-Saturday.

So in other words, I need to get on the higher end of that 8-10 range on that night’s sleep, then roll the pattern out from the rest of it until I end up on the 8-hour line by Thursday-Friday. That sounds a lot easier than it is though, as several factors impact that night. The most important one, however, is a fault of my own creation: Saturday is my rest day, Sunday is my chores day.

I think that is a catastrophic mistake. I am resting on Saturday, then letting Sunday become my busiest personal day. That means if I don’t squeeze my writing in sooner, I end up with a moderate to even late night, and either way, I tire myself out. Why am I doing this when it makes so much more sense to push all this to Saturday?

Well, this is where it gets tricky: Saturday is my rest day to isolate it from the working week. I know the next day is under my control. If I want to push a later night or let something spill, this leaves me free to do so. In other words, both Saturday and Sunday need to be rest days that I don’t have commitments on.

I’m not sure what the solution is here. I should push back on anyone trying to make plans with me on these days full stop, but that is not realistic in the long term. I do need to tell more people to, well, “get lost” in more tame language.  One to think on. But at least I can say with some certainty that this is the problem.