I keep making big changes for myself, and so far this one thing at a time approach is really paying dividends. I was able to give up soda (I don't crave it, necessarily, but I do WANT it, and I wonder if I could handle having a little bit of soda every now and then, but figure I'd best not tempt fate). I changed my diet and then exercise program and have lost 17 pounds and counting. I've changed my anti-depressants and after a bumpy switchover, I'm pretty pleased with how I feel. But my sleep is still shit. I sleep for an average of 12 hours a day -- average -- there are some days where I get only 6 or 7, so...yeah, there are some days where I sleep all day, wake up to have dinner, and go back to sleep for the night. I love sleep. But I'm obviously not doing it in a healthy way. So now my doctor has instituted a sleep prescription for me. Not pills, just rules:
Set an alarm for the same time every morning. (8am)
No electronics within an hour before bed. (Electronic curfew of 11pm, bed by midnight.)
No challenging brain stimuli within that hour, either -- so my go-to of puzzles in bed is off limits. I can read, but it has to be an actual book, not kindle. Doctor recommends doing a meditation app in this time (electronic, yes, but eyes closed, so no actual screen time).
Get up with the alarm, do active things. Exercise in the morning.
I'm giving myself time to ease into this. Like my soda elimination, I can't do this immediately all at once. For example, here's what a typical day may look like (although all my days are different):
Wake up at 8ish to take Toby to the train.
Come home, fuck around on the computer for an hour or two, then go back to sleep. Sleep in 20-to-40-minute spells until I feel like it's inappropriate to stay in bed any longer. Usually sometime around noon.
Have a food, fuck around on the computer a little more, feel a little yawny, get back in bed. Probably sleep a little more.
Around 3ish, I'll start making an effort to actually get up. After waking up, this will involve a little more fucking around on the computer before I get out of bed. I'll get dressed and go to the gym now, and actually give myself a pretty hard workout most days.
Come home, shower, make arrangements with Toby to meet up after work. Some nights I'll go into town and meet him, and we'll do a thing, other nights I'll just pick him up at the train and we'll come home and do a quiet thing, like play games and work puzzles and maybe even cook (mostly him on the cooking). Some nights he wants to go to the gym with me after work, so I let myself sleep even longer in the day because I don't have to be active until after 5 now.
We stay up doing whatever we're doing until 11 or so, then head upstairs to bed, where we'll work more puzzles together, flick some nets, have some sex, and he'll start to doze off. I'm still awake, so I'll continue working puzzles on my own, or fucking around on my computer, usually until sometime in the 1 o'clock hour. Then I'll start to attempt to fall asleep, which usually happens pretty quickly. I'll wake up a few times in the middle of the night to pee or adjust the blankets or remind myself that whatever had me upset was just a dream, and sleep happens, more or less, until 8am.
A few footnotes: all sleep is accompanied by reruns of TV shows I've seen a million times on Netflix. I don't watch them, they're just like bedtime stories that help me doze (or, you know, don't, because I'm sure that's part of the problem...but I have difficulty falling asleep without them). And when I say "fuck around on my computer," that often includes doing actual work. But it's also often facebook or bridge or some combination of things productive and unproductive.
So, changing these habits will be a process. For now I'm halfway following the electronics curfew rule -- I'm getting off my phone and computer by an hour before bedtime, but then I'm staying up doing puzzles, and then when it's time to sleep, I'll turn Netflix on, but turn the screen brightness way down. And then I still take naps during the day and I let myself Netflix then, too. Otherwise my mind just doesn't quiet down enough to sleep. And I do need the sleep. But I've been getting up and doing things in the mornings, sometimes even exercise (I mean, this is day 3 since the doctor's appointment, it's not like I have a real established pattern of anything yet). And I spent a lot of my down time driving for Uber over the last few days, so I'm out of bed, out of the house more. Getting there.
It's funny because when my doctor and I first talked in January about the changes I'd need to make, we decided the baby steps approach was more important/likely successful than doing everything all at once. But the things she considers baby steps feel like huge changes themselves! So I'm baby stepping my way through them, too. And so far it's working, and it's not terrible, and I feel good, so I guess I don't have much to complain about. But I do hope this is the last major change for a while. I'm not sure what else I'm willing to eliminate from my life!