Restless sleep has been a problem for me for a number of years. It has interfered with my ability to function well at work or to complete normal household tasks efficiently. That feeling of having missed a couple of hours of sleep and not being able to concentrate for very long seems to have become my normal state of being. I am also recognizing an increasingly failing memory, but that may be just a symptom of aging.
I can’t remember when it began, but in 2015 I bought a FitBit so that I could track the number of hours I was sleeping soundly and the amount of time I spent awake or tossing and turning. The results looked like this:
Those little blue lines show the times when I was moving about. I was getting roughly the right number of hours sleep, but too much of it was not sound sleep. I didn’t do much about it except to occasionally take an over-the-counter sleep aid. Waking up in the middle of the night became normal and I often slept in late to make up for it. Once I had tracked this for a while I figured I had learned what I could from the FitBit and put it away.
Recently, it seemed to me that things had gotten worse, so I bought a weighted blanket to see if it would help me to sleep more soundly. Then, I dug out the old FitBit to track the results. The results don’t look good, but surprisingly I feel as though I am sleeping better. The number of hours I am asleep is shorter, but the restlessness is considerably reduced. Here is what it looks like for the last couple of weeks.
I know that when I take an afternoon nap it interferes with my night-time sleeping, but sometimes I just can’t help it. I’m trying to overcome that afternoon dozy feeling by doing things that occupy my mind in the afternoons, and that seems to help. Also, to lessen insomnia I no longer drink tea in the afternoons and have stopped drinking wine during weekday evenings.
If you who have been wondering about weighted blankets, my experience has been that they are good for reducing movement but they don’t guarantee a full seven or eight hours of sleep. The sleep that I do get, though, is short but sweet.