ベッドの上でパソコンを使って作業をするのは禁物！ と自らを諭す。 JACKIE HOFFART PHOTO
体調管理の一環として、毎日8 時間の睡眠時間を取ることを目標に掲げたジャッキー。今回のチャレンジは楽勝だと高をくくっていたのですが、結果は — ？
I'm not gonna lie. I thought this challenge would be easy. I thought I already slept something like eight hours a night anyway, but it turns out my average is six and a half or seven.
I've read that eight hours is the ideal amount of sleep needed in order to promote good health for adults. Maintaining good sleeping habits can help your body fight illness, and I've even heard one report say that it helps with weight loss. I thought this challenge was a no-brainer.
But boy was I wrong. This challenge was nearly impossible!
Now that I'm a full-time student at film school (which I'm loving, by the way), it has taken some time to adjust to my new schedule.
I like to be really early, at least an hour early, for my classes. So I get up at about 7 a.m. every day just to establish that as a habit, even though my classes start at different times each day. This means that to get my eight hours of sleep I have to go to sleep every night at 11 p.m.
Increasingly, however, I tend to work really late on my projects. I lose track of time because I'm so absorbed in what I'm doing. It doesn't help that I'm naturally more of a night owl; I just feel more "awake" in the evening than the morning.
I started the challenge on a Monday. I was very careful for at least the first few days to get my eight hours, but by the end of the week, I was only averaging about seven per night. As the weekend approached, I lost my resolve to make that 11 p.m. bedtime, when faced with the option of going out with friends.
I did oversleep and get about 12 hours on the weekend, though, which is pretty rare for me (I normally get a sore back if I sleep more than nine hours ... my mother's arthritis beckons!).
For the second week, my sleep pattern was similar, if slightly worse.
I'm not sure I like the idea of trying to "average out" your sleep for the week by sleeping extra on the weekends. A little extra is nice, but surely it would be better to sleep a little more each night? A friend of mine used to do just that; she called it sleep debt, or sleep deficits. Her goal was to sleep 56 hours per week, getting the sleep in wherever she could fit it. It seemed to worked for her, but I'm not sure it would for me.
I decided, in the end, that if I can't increase the quantity of my sleep, then at least I can make an effort to do something about the quality.
One rather obvious factor that ought to affect the quality of my sleep is the quality of my mattress. I bought a secondhand bed recently and the mattress is pretty uncomfortable. I really need to get a new one, but they're so expensive. I'll need to save up a bit before I can upgrade.
Another bad habit I can address is the "ritual" of going to bed. I am guilty of sometimes falling asleep while watching TV (very bad!) or working in bed until really late, tuckering myself out until I can't stay awake anymore. This kind of activity makes it harder for my mind to calm itself down — again a rather obvious hindrance to peaceful slumber.
So from this challenge I've realized I need to be more disciplined about working time and sleeping time. I should treat the 30 minutes before I go to sleep as a kind of mental cool-down time in which I no longer do work, write emails or watch TV. Reading is still OK though; somehow, reading fiction before bed has a more relaxing effect on me, even if I still fall asleep while holding the book ...
Next time: What if I ... eat my vegetables