Earlier Bedtime and Questions

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 13, 2011 at 6:41 PM

My hubby and I have embarked on ditching some of our bad lifestyle habits. Specifically, no food beyond 7:00PM, TV off by 10:00PM (I'd like to throw it out but still have to work on hubby) and bedtime no later than 11:00PM. We're hoping to get up earlier, get more restful sleep and lower cortisol etc. For years, we'd slipped into the pattern of huge evening meal as late as 9:30 and beyond! Then movies/tv etc until Midnight and well beyond. We are hoping that shifting our day to early to rise, early to bed will also help us transition into Winter darkness. (I suffer terribly from Seasonal Affective Disorder ("SAD") and the lack of AM sunlight totally sucks for me. Hubby is not bothered by SAD.) So far, here is what we are noticing and are wondering if the not so good things are temporary adjustments:

1) We are getting drowsy earlier now -- say around 9:00PM -- hence we hit the hay at 10:30PM last night;

2) Despite the extra sleep time, we are feeling exhausted during the day?? I am really too tired to exercise now but my hormones are also undoubtedly changing as menopause is approaching so this may be a confounding factor. Perhaps I was also jacked up on adrenaline and cortisol and feeling false energy.

3) I have shifted from 2 meals per day to 3 because I have started eating breakfast. I hate having to eat 3 times per day but have noticed my post-prandials are not spiking as high & return to fasting quicker, and my fasting glucose is lowered. So this is a good thing although I don't understand why meal frequency would lower glucose. I have not changed macronutrients or overall calories at all. I'm wondering if the higher fasting glucose in long-term vlc's has to do with meal frequency. The lack of hunger makes one only need to eat once or twice and perhaps the body perceives this as a stress and raises cortisol which in turn raises blood glucose? In any event, I haven't eaten 3 times a day for ages so it feels weird but I can't argue that my post-prandials and fasting are better.

4) My bowels are moving much more regularly. Again, I wonder if the blame of vlc on constipation problems really has to do with lack of meal frequency? Just a thought. I had been going every day anyway but generally only after morning coffee. Now I'm going before so again, I think this is a good thing.

5) We both have no trouble falling asleep but our sleep has been more restless -- weird dreams.

Anyone else transition to earlier to bed, early to rise and feeling like more tired?

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2 Answers



on October 13, 2011
at 07:37 PM

I went through a stretch of this as well, when I first switched my sleep schedule, and I attributed it to 'catching up' and developing a natural sleep rhythm.

There is another confounding factor that may be affecting your sleep cycles that you sort of mentioned, but which I think has a larger impact than 'modern humans' may give credence to, and, for me, I think it's a huge factor in the whole SAD issue... This is the 'dark season' -- typically, for people who lived off the land, I'm sure that humans slept a lot more during the dark months than they did during the lighter months -- were a lot less active -- in fact, in part, maybe similar to a sort of "mini-hibernation". I notice that as we get shorter days, I am more inclined to sleep longer, and wake irritable if I have to wake before full daylight. When I allow myself to sleep unfettered, I usually find myself getting tired around 9:00 pm, and waking slightly after dawn. (Actually, as I think about it, that's my pattern during the summer, too -- but it doesn't get dark here until around 9:30-10, instead of 7pm... so I start getting sleepy around 10ish-11ish during the summer... and 9ish-10ish during the winter... and waking around 5-6ish during the summer and around 7-8ish during the winter on my own.)



on October 13, 2011
at 07:11 PM

I have also transitioned to earlier bed times, turning the tv off earlier, and when possible not eating after 4pm. At first I was sleeping a LOT, I think once you catch up on your rest (over a period of months possibly) then you will start feeling better overall.

I'd say keep doin what you're doin

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