Challenge updates: Wresting energy from the jaws of lethargy

September Challenge Was:

Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night!

This includes but is not limited to:

  • avoid unplanned nap behaviors; sleep in few large chunks
  • Use commitment devices
  • manage hydration to reduce sleepiness
  • develop alternate methods of mood regulation / stress reduction besides sleep
  • set realistic alarm times and then get out of bed immediately when alarm goes off
  • stay away from monitor a planned time before bedtime

I sucked really bad at managing hydration; I really need to keep drinking a bunch more water.  Under-hydration can make you sleepy even if you don’t feel thirsty (I rarely do!).  Also hydration is good for you in general, and with my students coming down with every plague on campus at this season, I need to stay healthy.

I was decent at commitment devices (such as putting in my contacts; they tend to get mad at me when I nap in them).  I slipped a few times on the napping, partly because I was battling exhaustion too strong to let me think or make good decisions.  But other times, I avoided napping by changing behaviors such as reading a book instead of sleeping.  When I got too sleepy to work, standing up to work often helped me power through getting things done with good energy.  It looked a bit weird in the coffee shop, but at least I didn’t have to get another shot!

Reading is also good for alternate mood regulation.  And as our friend CPP pointed out, sex also works.  Getting my partner on board with realistic bedtimes (and rewards!) was helpful.

I was good at staying away from monitors.  Sorry, my lovelies.  I was good at going to bed — I got at least 7 hours of sleep every night in September!  Go me!  (oh wait, except for the night when I had to get up at like 4am to catch a plane, but nevermind that.)  I was a lot less good at getting up, but I did ok.  Sometimes I did hit the snooze, or go back to bed for a few minutes, but I got up soon after.  I made this harder for myself to do by putting alarm clocks across the room so I at least had to get out of bed to stop the beeping.  One will stop beeping on its own, but the other won’t.

Outcome:  Success.  And good feelings about that!  Most nights I even got 8 hours, which is better than 7.  W00t.

October Challenge is:

Write every day for 30 min., without fail

Motivation:  A professional challenge!  I hear tenure sirens… weeeoooo weeeooooo…

I’m writing this on day 3 and so far I’m 3 for 3.  Hooray!  I’m telling friends and my partner about this so they can keep me accountable.  I’m also making a lovely graph from my spreadsheet of writing time, of course.  Stay tuned for updates…

14 Responses to “Challenge updates: Wresting energy from the jaws of lethargy”

  1. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    What’s wrong with naps? There is no evidence that I am aware of that redistributing total sleep time from a single bout at night in bed to include one or more naps is bad for you.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That’s why I said I could have PLANNED naps, but falling asleep while you’re trying to do something else is… not ideal. Also, sometimes I need a nap, and sometimes I don’t. I’m actually a huge fan of naps, but if my actual preference is to sleep during work time, well… sometimes it’s nice to try rearranging things.

  2. Molly Says:

    I suck at drinking enough water. I’ve made some improvements by carrying around cold water with a splash of unsweetened cranberry juice. It’s the only thing that took for me after that awful cleanse I decided to torture myself with.

  3. Alexicographer Says:

    Go, you! Also this phrase “unplanned nap behaviors” made me laugh. Thank you.

  4. undinenotofgeneralinterest Says:

    I did not know that about lack of hydration–thank you! That would explain a lot & I will now drink more water in the late afternoons.

  5. ABDMama Says:

    Such healthy habits you are forming! Do you keep them all up past the month?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:


      Sometimes I try, sometimes not. For example, healthy eating is taking a hit now that I’m busy and tired, but avoiding unplanned naps is helping with my new goal of writing every day. Some challenges are just finished when the month is over; some I may pick up again and again; others may even stick.

  6. First Gen American Says:

    Naps are such a luxury. There’s few things as good as a midafternoon nap. I was sleep deprived for a long time in college and I refuse to do it now…not unless it’s a special circumstance like a sick kid or something. I love sleep and I missed not having it.

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