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Getting Off Vampire Schedule

I've struggled with insomnia off and on for years. Acupuncture helped me a lot with my insomnia about four years ago, but it was expensive and took months of a lot of visits and a lot of chinese herb supplements to gradually work, I was doing pretty well until this past year, slid into night owl/vampire schedule over the summer, hope this course can help me get back on track!

Lately I can usually at least eventually sleep, my main complaint is not being able to fall asleep until 3 or 4 or 5 am and then sleeping in until 11 or noon (plus I am one of those people who lingers in bed after waking up, never just hop up and get going). I freelance from home so I can get away with this ridiculous schedule, but I hate feeling like i'm missing out on so much of the day, especially in winter when its getting dark early. I work a lot at night, but still feel like I'd be more productive and have more energy overall if I could shift this at least a bit...

Changes I'm trying to implement this week from the course:

• not reading in bed, checking email, etc. etc...both at night before going to sleep and in the morning, both of which are bad bed habits I have, been much better about it this week

• installed f.lux on computer (not really into jailbreaking my ipad and iphone to put it on those too, but read somewhere that reading in reverse, white text on black page, helps, I do like to read books on my ipad at night)

• working on going to bed every night by 2 am (want to shift this eventually to 12:30 or 1 am), and not doing any no-no's an hour or so before bed (no email, no liquid, no bright light, no food), having trouble stopping procrastinating around bedtime, actually start to get anxious about being able to fall asleep and so putter around avoiding trying until I'm sure I feel super tired...

• installed sleep cycle on phone, setting it to wake up same time every day, earlier than usual (don't normally use any alarm), experimenting with 9 to 10 am for now, again eventually want to shift back at least one more hour, not sure if I'm getting the thing positioned quite right to be accurate, and of course it doesn't know when I give up and get up for an hour in the middle of the night...

• have no windows in bedroom, nice and dark for going to sleep, not helpful for waking up, would have to get up and out of the room to get immediate sunlight, this is the hardest thing so far to do—have yet to manage it, but I'm thinking about it!

• I already excercise 4 to 5 days a week, average 30-40 minutes on treadmill, want to add back in regular strenuous hour and a half yoga classes out at a studio once or twice a week, used to do more regularly but have drifted away from it....did do 30 minute yoga podcast designed for bedtime relaxation (that I usually save for 4 or 5 am desperation) last night at 1:30 am, right before bed, and I seemed to fall asleep faster and easier, so would like to make this a regular thing, but not sure if I'll have the discipline for that every night.

• already walk my dog three times a day, if I can get up early enough to get the second walk in while its still light then I'll have my two daylight 15 min walks, but not usually so far since whole schedule is skewed so late.

• can't give up morning coffee, but restricting to before 3 pm

• I've been taking melatonin (5-10mg) and benadryl every night for years now, have history of sinus issues, but had surgery for deviated septum that was supposed to fix it two years ago and I also sleep with a good humidifier in the winter. I have had WAY less problems than before surgery, only one or two shorter and milder infections in last two years instead of sick all winter, but still cling to benadryl at night from when I was afraid of waking up with a bad sinus headache and appreciate the sleepiness help, but I'm probably immune to it by now anyway. I would like to get off of supplements altogether, and trust my body to manufacture enough of its own melatonin—worried about what this has done to my ability to have a normal, natural sleep cycle— at least not using ambien any more at all, which I did a lot, for a long time about ten years ago, has been over six years since last took it.

K. 

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