BY Charlene Su

I’ve got a horrible habit of sleeping around 4-5 hours every night, normally playing on my phone before putting it away for bed around 2 or 3am. 

I also tend to drink 2-3 cups of coffee (or tea) every day, having my last cup close to 9pm. When I am awake and not drinking caffeine, I tend to do a lot of my work on my laptop on my bed. This week, I decided to try a wellness habit I don't normally do for a week, hoping this will motivate me to finally fix my horrible sleep routine. For this challenge, I set myself some ground rules: 

  • Blue light filter on mobile phone must be switched on at 10:30pm 

  • Must be in bed by 11pm 

  • Phone must be put away at 12am 

  • No coffee after noon, no tea after 4pm 

  • No working from my bed 

I found this incredibly hard to do for the first few days of the week, as I found myself accompanying my boyfriend to the ED on the second night of the challenge, where I drank coffee throughout the night to stay awake, played on my phone with the blue light filter disabled in the waiting room, and only getting into bed at around 2:30am. 

I was about to text Will telling him this piece wouldn’t come in on time because of all my excuses but decided to keep going despite the hiccup. 

I must admit it was incredibly difficult to lie in bed actively trying to sleep at 11pm when my body did not recognise my bed as a resting area. I had to force myself not to think or plan for the next day and found myself counting my breaths as I consciously tried breathing deeply. I finally fell asleep around 1:30 am, a slight improvement from my normal routine. 

As the week went on, I found that little things like restricting my working area to my desk or charging my phone further from my bedside helped adjust the sleeping hygiene issue I had. I found myself getting sleepier earlier*, counting lesser deep breaths, waking up in the morning a bit faster. By the end of the week, I found myself in a better mood than I normally am, laughing a bit louder, a bit happier. I have more energy to do things and found daunting tasks a little less so. 

I must say I let myself go on the last night of the challenge though, as I found an interesting series on YouTube and couldn’t stop myself from watching more. I taste the bitter regret as I sit in my office sipping coffee the morning after. 

I can’t confidently say that my good mood is a direct result of a week of altered sleep habit, but I must say the correlation seem to strongly suggest this. I’ll definitely try to keep this routine though and see how that works out for me in the longer term. 

*I recently started exercising twice a week at night which might contribute to better sleep 

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