How I improved my sleep?

Have you ever worried that you are not getting enough sleep and researched online for ways to improve your sleep hours and the quality of your sleep? It all started when a well-meaning family member gave me a fitbit. The first version was simply a pedometer. Then it started adding a lot of functionalities. One of them was sleep tracking. 

I had a feeling for a while that I had been sleeping less. I am used to getting up early and I can’t sleep after the sun is out regardless of the time I sleep. I thought I was sleeping less due to the late night official calls. It was a mere feeling and there was no way to quantify it. When sleep tracking capabilities were introduced, I was glad that I would be able to track my sleep and then be able to take measures to improve it. It made it worse. The tracker was showing I sleep between 5h30 mins to 6 hours on avg. I compared that with the doctors’ collective recommendation of 8 hours and started getting worried too much. I started blaming the workload, evening calls and also my wife for not getting up earlier. 

I started researching how to sleep better. There was a tonne of free flowing advice on the internet. Tried few, ignored many. Some showed a little bit of hope. But, generally fell back to the same pattern. The more I checked the data, the more I got worried which in turn caused poor sleep. The lights and vibrations from the tracker and the need to check the tracker whenever I woke up in the middle of the night wasn’t helping either. The very tool that was supposed to help was becoming a hindrance. It reminded me of a beautiful quote from the book The Oath of Vayuputras

The key question isn’t ‘What is Evil?’ The key question is ‘When does the Good become Evil?’

– Amish Tripathi , The Oath of the Vayuputras

I blamed the tracker too. Now, fast forward, I have been sleeping on average 7h30 mins for the last two months. That’s an incredible improvement. So what changed? What did I do that improved my sleep? What’s the secret? Nothing. There is no secret ingredient. It’s just that my mother came and stayed with us for two months. How does that matter you ask?

As a kid, we never had cable television. The last program we used to watch was the news on the DoorDarshan and we used to have lights out at 8.30 pm. May times we have observed that both my parents need to sleep by 9pm (on the days when they don’t have any events in the temple) or else they get very irritated. When my mom came and stayed with us, she used to watch telly till 9 and wind up at 9. We didn’t want to disturb her and we stopped watching the telly after 9. Since we already minimized the phone usage in the bedroom, I started sleeping earlier. When I checked the data after a few weeks, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the sleep hours and the quality has improved. 

In the end it was not rocket science. It was a simple act of turning off the television early and getting to the bedroom. This was such a huge relief as it reassured me that nothing was wrong with my health and it was just a matter of discipline. I learnt two more points – (i) Putting others’ needs before you could be beneficial to you ( #GoodKarma) (ii) as I mentioned earlier, your relatives are your change agents.

Now that I have learnt these lessons, all that is pending is posting this story in LinkedIn and calling myself as an influencer. 

Pic Courtesy: Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

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