Saturday, February 23, 2019

Making Change

Counting sheep
It has been 6 days since I deactivated my Facebook account. It does feel a little odd, I get these urges to post something and then remember that I can't. And I am out of the loop as far as what various Facebook friends are up to, but it doesn't feel like a huge loss. It's a little loss, one I can live with.

I read that someone conducted a major study in which half the subjects continued to use Facebook as usual and the other half were cut off from it. The end result was that the people who had no access to Facebook reported more well being and more free time than those who continued as usual. I can attest that I spend less time on the internet, I don't know about the well being. Yet.

I also decided to look into cognitive behaviour therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). Guess what, there's an app for that. I borrowed or downloaded a few books about insomnia and found one that I especially liked, Overcoming Insomnia and Sleep Problems, by Dr. Colin Espie. He walks you through the process with lots of explanations and suggestions. 

At the core of CBT-I is "sleep restriction": first determining how much sleep you are actually getting by keeping a sleep diary, and then restricting the amount of time you spend in bed to that amount of time. So, if you usually spend 8 hours in bed but are only sleeping for 5 hours, then you start by only spending 5 hours in bed. The idea is that you gradually increase the time you spend in bed as your "sleep efficiency" (time spent sleeping/time spent in bed) increases.

I am currently at the stage of keeping a sleep diary (on my phone app) to see how much time I actually sleep. I am also trying some of his suggestions around "sleep hygiene", such as turning on all the lights in the evening to make my living space as bright as possible and setting an ideal waking time and working back from that to determine an ideal bedtime. What I have learned so far is that I actually get more sleep than I think I do, but that doesn't make me feel any less tired. I am not getting as much as I think I need.

Dr. Espie describes "normal" sleep for different age groups, and of course normal sleep for old people is not great: waking up lots of times during the night and not reaching deep stages of sleep as much as one used to. He cautions old people that while CBT-I will probably help, it will not return them to sleep patterns they experienced as young adults. Those days (and nights) are gone!

In keeping my Sleep Diary I set an 8 hour period for sleeping, which means that I am now aiming to go to bed a couple of hours later than I used to. Between staying up later and getting off Facebook, I suddenly have many more hours of free time. But I am also very, very tired, I feel like I can't actually do anything with all that extra time. 

Dr Espie says it will get better. This is the downside of CBT-I: it's a lot of work and not very pleasant initially, but supposedly it is the best long term solution. We shall see.

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Last week I went to a local shop that sells outdoor clothing and asked about winter boots. I wanted boots that were easy to get off and on, I thought zippered boots would be good. But the proprietor said he didn't carry zippered footwear because the zippers rusted and broke too easily. 

I saw a boot I liked the look of but it was very expensive. I went home and thought about that boot for several days and finally decided to bite the bullet and pay the high price. I went back and the boot was gone, but there were a whole lot of winter boots and shoes on sale. The shop was already stocking up on springwear and putting their winterwear on sale. 

I tried on some of the boots that were on sale. A woman who worked there showed me a boot I could try and it was the boot that I'd seen before and thought was gone. It was just the right size and very comfortable, and it was now half-price!

I love my new winter boots. 

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Reservoir eagle
Yesterday I took Hapi for a walk at the Reservoir and then drove downtown for groceries. It was such a nice sunny windless day that I took Hapi for another walk on the dyke. I ran into a man who was also going for a walk in the same direction. We had such an interesting conversation that we walked together for quite a long way, much longer than I intended. 

By the time I got home Hapi and I were both exhausted. That evening I yawned my way through to my new bedtime unable to do anything other than watch more TV. 

But it was a very good day.


Wisewebwoman said...

I have gone off FB for a few months from time to time and I agree it opens up my life. I try not to engage too often with it during the day, it is all so much rubbish really but I do find it useful for updates from groups I belong to, etc. I restrict my usage unconsciously now as I prefer to read and knit and mull. LOL And write of course.

So sorry you are having these sleeping issues. I rarely have sleep trouble. I don't have TV in my bedroom ( I heard that's a no-no for good sleep) and I do a kind of meditation before falling asleep. Usually I envision a lovely beach from childhood and playing in the sand and listening to the waves and counting my sandcastles. Ridiculous but it works.


Annie said...

Your meditation is one of the recommendations in the book. Unfortunately falling asleep is not my problem, staying asleep is. One of my most serious objections to FB is the way it curates what I’m allowed to see. It has become extremely onerous to view what my FB friends post, instead I get a whole lot of “sponsored” posts. According to Tristan Harris it actually damages the brain, in some cases permanently. I may return to FB, but a bunch of things will have to change for the better.

CheerfulMonk said...

That's great about the boots and the walk. I've never liked FB, so it's never been a problem. Good luck with staying asleep -- I had that problem for years but mostly I sleep well now at the age of 79. Go figure!

Rain Trueax said...

I generally fall asleep pretty easily-- depending on whether my partner is snoring. I wake up once during the night for the bathroom but then it's dicey for falling back to a sound sleep. I sometimes feel I don't sleep but what I am doing is dozing, which is not the same as a REM sleep but it passes faster than lying there wide awake.

I don't feel a drawback to FB yet but do try to keep aware of how it's making me feel. If i get a lot of political posts, it can be upsetting. I often snooze someone who feels compelled to tell me how I should think and if it continues, I unfollow them but keep them as friends. I think a lot of writers have it just to promote their books and frankly I get that as there aren't a lot of places you can do that for free.

Annie said...

Yeah, lying there wide awake is the pits, makes for a very long night. I'd definitely settle for dozing! I understand the usefulness of FB for writers and others trying to sell their services or simply to get their creations out there, I have several artist friends who post their work on FB. There is for sure a useful side to FB, which is why it took me so long to pull the plug (I've been thinking about it for years!). In particular I miss my DIL's posts about her family on the other side of the country.