Sorry for this long post, but I wanted to give adequate background information. To make this easier to just skim through, the main information is in bold.
I have a serious sleep problem right now and am asking for help. My energy is awful. In brief, I can't sustain 'early night' on a long-term basis, and feel that I am destroying my health with consistent late nights. I need help getting out of this cycle.
I have been adapting to the 80/10/10 Diet for the past five years now, and I really like it. I know that the diet is a lifestyle, thus food is not the only element. I do have the food part down quite well after lots of struggle, but I must admit that my sleep habits are still awful and causing me to not fully experience the benefits of 811.
I don't have insomnia, but the problem is for the past 10 years I have regularly been going to bed very late (even when I was tired and could have gone to bed early), anywhere from 1:30 to 6am. (I am enthusiastic and can get carried away with stuff late at night. I like the night because it is calm and quiet, and I tend to be productive then. So I can find a lot to do aside from going on the computer.) And then the cycle repeats itself as my body is not ready to sleep until very late the next day (and then repeat again). Sometimes I will start going to bed earlier for a few days in a row, but eventually I have a late night and get thrown off all over again.
I don't feel good and rested sleeping at such hours. But the habit still continues and I find it extremely hard to change.
The most rested I have felt in my life was back when I was 12-13 years old (I am 24 now) and had gotten into a very good pattern of going to bed at 7:30pm and being able to sleep until 6 or 6:30. But then high school started and I was not as organized with my time to be able to retire early, and I developed very bad habits of neglecting my sleep and knocking it off my list of priorities. It's hard to turn this 10-year habit around and I am suffering the undesirable consequences.
Would anyone have any tips for breaking a vicious late-night cycle?
Should I just starting setting an alarm in the morning (even though I will be tired at first) to force my body into that earlier cycle?
Other info about me:
1. My exercise level is very poor right now. I am always tired from poor sleep so I never have the motivation, plus I have minor injuries on both of my feet that make even walking a bit difficult.
2. I feel best on 3,000-3,500 calories per day and I do get this amount usually every day unless I am REALLY tired and just can't get it in, which happens at least once a week. (The other problem is I wake up late, so my first meal is late). I pretty much eat only dates, bananas, and greens right now because that's what I desire. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are each 1000-1200 calories of dates or bananas, and I eat greens a few times a week on the side. I rarely include overts, and I don't crave them.
3. I stay very hydrated, drinking anywhere from 3-5 L of reverse osmosis water each day and during the night. I pee frequently, even at night.
4. I am about 40-50 pounds overweight right now. I was already overweight when I started this lifestyle. I have yet to lose weight on this lifestyle because I have had big high-fat slip-ups in the past and haven't stayed on it consistently long enough yet, but in the last 4 or 5 months I have gotten really strong on staying 811hcv thanks to eating more fruit calories. I have faith that I can lose this weight from 811. I imagine that I my awful sleep habits and lack of exercise contribute to lack of weight loss.
5. I do not have a stressful lifestyle nor am I emotionally stressed about anything. If anything, my life is a little boring at the moment. My main occupation is to just stay home and study for a big exam for my profession. I am not currently working. And I don't have the energy (due to my poor sleep) to get out and do anything with my day. So aside from working around the house doing chores, I just spend the day sitting, studying and amusing myself in various ways.
Hey Scott! It's a great feeling of support for me to read that you are struggling with a similar thing. Thank you so much for reading my post and commenting. I think where we differ is that you have to be up at 6am, where as I can sleep in until 2pm if I want. I am wondering if doing that very thing -- setting an alarm and forcing myself to get up early -- could help me get to bed earlier. I need 10.5 - 12.5 hours of sleep right now.
Still, I would love to be of support to you as well in any way that I can. How many hours of sleep do you feel best on?
I just got an idea. I think I will start a 7-Day "Sleep Challenge", accompanied by a daily blog of what time I got to bed, what time I actually fell asleep, and how I felt the next day. The blog makes me accountable. The challenge will consist of (1) Setting an alarm clock in the morning & forcing myself to get up, even if I am tired, and (2) Getting to bed as early I can.
I am totally aware that forcing yourself to get up when tired is not healthy, but I am already tired as it is from late nights, which is why I intend to do the alarm thing only short-term, and perhaps it can help me in the long run start getting better sleep! I am desperate and I can't keep living the way that I am right now. Time to take action.
i actually have struggled with insomnia for quite some time now.. until just recently. So here are my 2 cents :)
Once the sun goes down, i don't allow myself to be stimulated by any internet or tv. Sounds like you aren't struggling w the food part, but i like that you remember it's a full lifestyle (i need more help w the food part ^^). Anyways, if you watch Michael Arnstein's lecture at the WWFF on ultra-running, you'll see how much he emphasizes good sleep, wearing a mask in bed to block out any light.
I sleep with a window open and the cool air tends to help me fall asleep (as long as it's safe and quiet outside).
Oh and another thing that's helped me hugely is getting daily sunshine. I struggle w deep depression and other mental health issues, and Durianrider's weekly sun advice applies to me on a very very daily level :) I drive to the beach, then either sit in the car watching the sunset (on days my anxiety is high) or walk outside for some air (on days my anxiety is better). Nature has truly helped raise my mood. Sunlight is incredible therapy.
In the mornings, I force myself out of bed and go for a small walk up a dirt road nearby. I am so fortunate to have parents who encourage this and we see huge benefits being active first thing in the morning (even if we don't break a sweat). Anything that will get your body moving, and it really helps to have some company :)
When i focused on weight loss, it was hard to get moving. So instead i focused on getting better sleep and so many areas of my life had to be addressed.. hopefully tho all these small changes will help w consistent sleep.
Oh! and all these things create a more exciting life, as i think boredom and inactivity really disrupt peaceful sleep. I think making small changes make all the difference :) Keep up posted if you can!
Thank you so much, Kim! :-) I tremendously appreciate your input, and you have touched on so many great points here. Thank you for being open about your own struggles. I love that you use nature to help calm you :-) Also, fresh air coming in the room makes my sleep so much better! (The only problem is when the neighbors do laundry, the smell of their dryer sheets that blows out of the vent travels straight through my window and causes me respiratory discomfort.)
Sunshine was an aspect I forgot to mention. I certainly don't get enough. On a good week, we will have 2 or 3 sunny days, but I have been so tired to even go outside for it.
I will use your tip about doing physical activity in the morning! Even though my feet are bad right now, I can think of a few things I could do.
I so appreciate your valuable and generous input. :-)
Can you give a little bit of detail of what your lifestyle/diet was like prior to beginning to be consistent with this lifestyle 4-5 months ago? Are you a male or a female?
I know it may not seem possible to you but it is possible you are under eating. I find my sleep cycle naturally self regulates when I started eating enough which was surprisingly a lot more then I ever imagined. Also getting sun daily helps regulate your sleep.
Also exercise will help but isn't necessary to be honest. I too right now do not exercise at all and really nothing at all and my sleep patterns regulated themselves just by eating enough.
Hello, Fruit of Life! Thank you for reading my post, and willing to lend me some help. That is very kind of you.
I am a female. Prior to becoming consistent with 811rv in these last 4-5 months ago, I would be able to eat only LFRV (sometimes up to two weeks consistent), but then end up falling off for a few days with high-fat, mostly vegan foods like mexican burritos (with lots of oil). I had similar sleep problems, though I was getting more sun than I do now. But now I am definitely eating more calories than I was back then (I was probably eating only around 2,500), which I believe is why I am doing better.
But I think you could be right about me possibly needing more calories! In the past 4-5 months, I have noticed a gradual but continuous increase in my caloric needs (or at least I am better able to listen to my body now) and was actually thinking the other day if I should now be aiming for eating 3,700 - 4,000 each day. Not daunting to me at all, as I am already at 3,000 - 3,500, so it's really only 500 more. Means I get to eat MORE fruit!!!!! :-D
Thanks for your input about your experience with lack of exercise and how it does not affect your own sleep. That is good to hear because my feet just really can't do a lot right now, so I will try not to worry about it too much.
I am grateful for your help! I wish you the best as you continue your journey as a raw vegan.
sleep issues here as well cant get to sleep cant get long stretches and wake up every hour etc.. Its almost worse since I started this way of eating. I've noticed if i dont eat too much carbs close to bed its a little easier. But its hard to do that since i pretty much just gobble down food the whole time i'm awake.
Hi Jim! Thanks for posting! Yes, I hear you on that one!
I had bad habits of staying up late even before starting 811, but now that my appetite has been more awakened on this lifestyle, I may be having even more difficulty. I am wired @ night if I haven't reached my mark. My stomach DEMANDS to have every calorie it desires, even if it means I have to get up and eat! Sometimes its frustrating, but I try to remember that once you get the hang of it, your sleep will be overall better on this lifestyle than SAD because you are getting better rest due to not eating bad foods. So this struggle is worth it for me :-)
everyone in this post has lots of good advice. my sleep used to be messed up too but then i started a job that required me to work early hours (in order to be at work at 6am, i had to wake up at 4:45am) it was really tough at first but i just had to force myself to do it. after a few days or a week of forcing yourself to get up at some ungodly hour, you start to crave rest and will want to go to sleep by 7-8pm, or whenever it gets dark out. after a while, waking up early will start to feel good - i usually wake up between 7 and 8 am and just relax for a few hours, have some water and breakfast, maybe do some stretches or exercise for a bit, then get ready to go to work (i'm lucky that my current job doesn't require me to be there so early).
during this adjustment period you'll probably need to keep better track of your food and water intake because you'll be eating at different times than your old schedule, and that can take some getting used to as well. and don't cave to stimulants!!! that cup of coffee will look verrryyyyy enticing, but just think about how good it's going to feel to sleep soundly that night, and how coffee will keep you from precious precious sleep. :D
one thing that also really helped me was preparing a bedtime ritual to sort of train my body into realizing it was time to sleep. i'd start about an hour before i went to bed, with a big mug of some kind of herbal tea (i really like zhena's firelight chai, or any kind of plain chamomile - both are very aromatic and calming) and sit on the couch with a blanket across my lap, and sip tea while I read a book or just doodled on a notepad. I found that staring at a computer or tv screen was too much and too likely to "suck me in" and prevent me from going to bed on time.
it sounds like you are in a good place right now to make these changes, no strict schedule to keep, so just relax and focus on easing yourself into a new sleep cycle. once your sleep is fixed, you will magically have the energy to go out and do things during the day! that's just my experience, hopefully some of this will be helpful to you! good luck :)
I see that you've gotten a lot of good responses to your question. I recently came across this free recorded class on sleep (link below), which touches on a lot of good points that a lot of people overlook.
Hope it helps :)