high-tech sleeping

Sleeping is getting way too high tech lately. Yesterday I had an especially hard workout – 11km, including a warm-up followed by 2 sets of 2km at aerobic threshold, then 3km at marathon pace. So I actually headed up to bed a little early, and slept until the alarm went off, unusually for me. (Usually if I have an alarm set, I’m beginning to wait up a quarter hour or so before it’s set to go off.

I’ve been playing with my electronics; here’s the current set-up: Bedtime is at 10, because we get up at 6 (actually a few minutes before, mostly because the old iPod was a little fast and by the time we realized it we were used to it). At 9:25, the bedside lamp comes on. At 9:30, my iPad dings a bedtime warning – the first few notes of a lullabye – and switches to a warmer shade of light. (I’m more likely to be mostly reading on the Kindle at that point, so I only notice when I go to check something on the iPad.) Somewhere between then and 10, I head upstairs and clean the litterbox, if it’s my turn.

Then it’s time for better living through chemistry: I brush my teeth with a toothpaste that makes them less sensitive, take a multivitamin and my one medication, wash my face, and brush my teeth again with a special prescription toothpaste that has lots of fluoride, and floss.

I get into bed and plug in my phone, Kindle and iPad. The light goes off at 9:55, so I have to turn it back on if I’m not in bed by then. I put a biteguard made of high-tech molded plastic in my mouth so I don’t wear down my teeth, because I tend to clench them in my sleep.

My fitness tracker keeps tabs on how well I sleep all night.

At about 5:55, my phone lights up and wakes me with a soft sound that gets louder untim I shut it off. I get up, check the fitness tracker app on my phone to see how well I slept because I’m curious, get up, take out my biteguard, and take off my fitness tracker, then shower and get ready for the day. (I could shower in the tracker but it seems like an unnecessary risk.)

It all seems like an awful lot of stuff to do just to sleep. So far, my main conclusions are:

1. I have been healthier since I started taking a multivitamin (Ted’s influence, back when we moved in, so that step is useful.
2. I know there are studies saying flossing doesn’t help, but my dentist seems happier when I go in if I’ve been doing it regularly – I mean, they like the condition of my teeth better – so that’s useful.
3. I don’t feel any better or worse when I take my thyroid meds, though the test numbers are better. Inconclusive.
4. I’ve just started having the light turn itself on and off, so I still haven’t decided if that’s helpful.
5. This morning, because of the heavy workout, I slept all the way until the alarm, and this soft one did indeed wake me more gently. Helpful.
6. Bedtime warning chime: I just started that too – it’s iOS10’s new Bedtime app, along with this soft alarm – but I think it will be good for getting to bed on time. That’s also what changes the iPad’s color; I’m not convinced it makes any difference.
7. The biteguard doesn’t keep me from clenching my teeth- so I can still wake up with a sore jaw, but at least it doesn’t harm my teeth.
8. When I track how well I sleep, it doesn’t really correlate at all with how well I think I’ve slept. Academically interesting, not terribly useful.

My Apple Watch arrived today; that means one more device to charge, but I probably won’t be wearing the fitness tracker any more, and likely won’t bother to put it on just to sleep. (I can’t wear the Watch to sleep, because it needs charging every night.) More on the Watch later, when I’ve had it longer than a couple of hours.

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