Time Management and Getting Enough Sleep


clouds-in-blue-skyQuestions about how to manage time and get enough sleep at night are coming up in the my Forum.  I'll respond here since this issue effects many people with eating disorders and demanding lives.

Getting yourself into bed at a reasonable time so you sleep enough hours to repair and restore your mind, body and spirit is important any time, but especially in recovery. Here's how to make this happen.

Pretend you are the good mother of the child you are. You need to wake up at a certain time and have a morning schedule so you can get to school on time with energy, mental alertness, and look forward to your day.  Breakfast, clothes, brush teeth, get homework together, lunch in lunch box and... talk, giggles, kisses and hugs. The child then goes off to school, confident, happy and prepared for the challenges to come.

Night time. At a certain time say, 8:00. p.m, the day stops and the night routine begins. Bath, talk that winds down the day, giggles, kisses and hugs, pjs, water, brush teeth, a last pee, pick out books, into bed, read stories (or make them up), sing a couple of songs, more water, another pee, more kisses and hugs, maybe music on low, sleep.

It's a gradual building up in the morning and a gradual winding down at night.

How can you make this happen for you as an adult?

Your eating disorder mind does two things: it says, "I want it NOW," and it says, "I'll get to it later." So activities that require a gradual layering are met with frustration because you can't do them in an lie down and sleep.  And activities that require timely action, like respecting the time to change from one activity to another get postponed .... like stop action and move to sleep preparation.

Give yourself a time for ending your active day and starting your sleep preparation.  You might begin with a prayer or meditation or reading a poem or petting a cat or brushing your hair or standing quietly in a favorite place in your home or garden.

After you've bathed and brushed your teeth, get into a clean and cozy bed.  Cuddle with an animal - stuffed or alive.  Read what works for you as a gentle bed time story.  Maybe it's part of a novel or a short story.  Maybe it's a children's story.

When you finish your story or are too sleepy to continue, turn out the light and let yourself drift off.

Drift off means just that. You don't like rigid waiting to sleep, as if you were daring sleep to come.  You don't pour over all the things you need to do or didn't do, or did badly. You don't reawaken hurts, losses, worries, fears.  Your sleep preparation, like tending a beloved child going to bed, soothes you, calms you, loves you, cares for you, separates you from your worries.  It brings you to your gentle, cozy place where you drift, like slow moving billowy clouds, to a restful sleep.

Give yourself a chance to develop this practice  Develop it gradually and keep at it.  You'll grow to treasure this time, and you'll get wonderful gifts of energy, serenity and mental alertness.

Will you do it?  Let me know how you put this into your life and let me know what changes you start to see in your waking day.


0 # Thanks for the article. I am flying oMelanie 2012-01-13 15:06
Thanks for the article.

I am flying out the door of my office and headed to a recovery meeting. Friday nights are my favorite.
0 # I think we all have the same routine atPTC 2012-01-13 15:40
I think we all have the same routine at night. I brush, floss, wash my face and hit the hay. One of my cats usually comes and lays on my chest for a while before I flip over and go to sleep. I can't fall asleep laying on my back. I give her kisses and pet her head. Sometimes the other one jumps up and cuddles up next to me. Then, it's off to dreamland.
0 # I'm off to celebrate my 40th birthday wishh 2012-01-13 17:59
I'm off to celebrate my 40th birthday with 5 days vacation tomorrow ....I'm guessing that will be a lot of late nights, so I will have to vow to just try my best when I return home
0 # I have two sandstone monks which hold teJan 2012-01-13 18:14
I have two sandstone monks which hold tea lights - I light these every evening about an hour before I will go to bed and some "white cotton" burning essence – Then I give thanks for the day and ask for whatever I need help with to be healed to the Universe!!

This is a new routine I recently created and it makes me feel “safe and secure”

AIthough I do sleep very well 8-9 hours most nights ? Awakening is a different experience and I wake up disturbed or hyper alert.
Will post something more in the forum about this......
0 # p.s shh have great time!Jan 2012-01-13 18:15
p.s shh have great time!
0 # Happy Birthday Shh!!! Enjoy your fun! Tmylifex2 2012-01-13 18:18
Happy Birthday Shh!!! Enjoy your fun!
0 # yes, this is a topic of concern for manymylifex2 2012-01-13 18:34
yes, this is a topic of concern for many of us it seems. I often look for ways to make more hours in my day..but it just doesn't happen. My day starts at 6:30 with getting my kids up and ready for school and daycare. I usually get to work by 8:30 and work until 4:30. Most days of the week I hit the gym or take my kids to their gymnastics or karate...there is "grocery store" day once a week, and dinner and homework. Being a single mom, I do not have much assistance with these things. Not complaining, just stating the way it is. My 11 year old has very poor time management skills and my 4 year old has autism. My nights are pretty hectic. My four year old is very, very active and needs constant redirection. I cannot leave the two of them alone in a room together without someone getting hurt it seems. I have instituted "mommy time", which my kids understand is their time to go to their room and leave me alone lol. This typically happens around 8:30 at night. Unfortunately "mommy time" is often spent doing dishes, laundry, vacuuming, making lunches for school, etc. I do enjoy catching up on facebook with my friends and checking out various sites such as this. I need atleast a couple of hours of awake and alone time each night. I don't want to just go to bed, no matter how tired I may be. I actually can be exhausted all day, then catch my second wind about the time my kids go to bed. I often start a fire in the fireplace, I light candles every single night and I put on HGTV. I also use this time to read or journal. It is often midnight before I go to bed. Or later. I would say I average 6 hours of sleep a night max. I know I need more. I am trying to find a way to do this...but even when I have that rare opportunity bed time has always been a hard time for me. Winding down does not come easy. I take a sleep aid every night just so I can sleep. I find it hard to relax myself to sleep. This is definitely something I need to work on. Thank you, Joanna for the blog and the suggestions.
Laura R
0 # PTC - my nighttime routine is exactly liLaura R 2012-01-13 20:46
PTC - my nighttime routine is exactly like yours to the letter!
0 # Haha, Laura.PTC 2012-01-14 05:22
Haha, Laura.
0 # How do people get to the point of havingMelanie 2012-01-16 07:03
How do people get to the point of having routine?
0 # Dear Melanie, Almost everything aboutpinkjoanna 2012-01-16 11:59
Dear Melanie,

Almost everything about recovery is about gradual increments. Almost everything about eating disorder thinking and behaviors is about instant gratification including plans to do something major immediately.

You start your routine with one small thing. Something simple that you can do on a regular basis.

For example, is your bed inviting? If it is, great. If not, develop the practice of making your bed every morning so it's inviting when you go to bed. And give yourself clean bedding that is washed on a regular basis.

If that's not an issue, take a look at your bedroom or sleeping place. Is it tidy with something pleasant to look at when you are in bed, just before you turn off the light to sleep?

Get the idea? You approach your routine gently and gradually so you can enjoy it and stay with it.
0 # It isn't the bed that is a problem. I hMelanie 2012-01-16 12:16
It isn't the bed that is a problem. I have too many sheets and comforters to mention. I change the sheets quite often as I have a cat. The walls are pale lavendar. I've done the feng shui to the whole house.

It is the rest of my home that a cyclone has hit. I was the biggest neat and clean freak for the longest time. I spent one day of each weekend cleaning house and the other working in my yard. One day I said f this I want a life. Now I need to tip the scale back the other way. I tried the Fly Lady thing. It didn't help.
0 # Wait a minute here, Melanie. If your hopinkjoanna 2012-01-16 14:06
Wait a minute here, Melanie. If your home looks like "a cyclone has hit" it's not living up to any kind of Feng Shui principles I know about.

How could you sleep on an island surrounded by chaos? I couldn't.

But again, whatever needs to be done, approach it gradually so you can maintain the new way.

I remember Fly Lady. I learned about her in a limo on the way to the airport from Sierra Tuscon - the eating disorder inpatient treatment center I talk about in Healing Your Hungry Heart.

Why not review some of those tips? You could start with throw outs (or donations to your local gift shop). Can you go through your home and sort out 17 things?

You may have to pick one task from Fly Lady and do it until it feels normal. Then add another.

Whatever you choose, the first step, no matter how simple and easy, will be a challenge you need to face because that first step is the beginning of change.
0 # Joanna I have thown out until I am blMelanie 2012-01-16 15:14

I have thown out until I am blue. I began with the tarot cards, dark morose poetry that denounced God, the super skinny clothes.

It's paper and textbooks and stacks of bills.

My weight improved when my mom died, but many other aspects of my life hit the fan so to speak.

What is amazing is that the master bedroom is in the children's area of my home and it is clean and neat. I have accepted that children are not part of my life plan. The guest room which is neat as a pin is in the wealth corner. The areas that are my biggest challenges are travel/helpful friends, career, knowledge, and family. Lost another fish in the aquarium that sits in the family area of my house. No great loss. I've been waiting for them to die for a while now. When I was gung ho about an aquarium, I couldn't keep a fish alive to save my life. Now that I am ready to dismantle the thing the fish will not die.
0 # Dear Melanie, As I understand Feng Shpinkjoanna 2012-01-16 17:37
Dear Melanie,

As I understand Feng Shui, it's all about balance. e.g. if you want to bring more wealth into your life it may not be that you need to address the "wealth area" in your home except to bring it in balance with everything else.

The Feng Shui point for health, as I was told, is the center of your home. You do nothing for it. When all is in balance the center is terrific. When imbalance pervades, the center, i.e. your health, suffers.

The paper clutter faces most of us. It's all about dealing with stuff as soon as possible, filing, and being creative about where you keep things as well as being as clear as a weeding gardener in thinning out what you have.

It's an ongoing challenge.

P.S. I don't like the idea of your waiting for life in your home to die. I have a friend who returns fish to her aquarium store when they get too big for her tank. Can't you find some creative and benign way of dealing with your fish?
0 # I've tried to give the aquarium away. TMelanie 2012-01-17 05:17
I've tried to give the aquarium away. The store where I bought them closed.

I've had these fish 3 years. The same fish. I bought the cheapest two fish at the store as an experiment. They flourished and procreated. If my life were the movie 28 Days, I should be able to maintain a relationship with a human being. My cat is a thriving 15 pound purr box. I haven't allowed the cat to have his own live sushi bar although it has been on his mind. My roses flourish even with my limited time to care for them.

The fish have a good life. I'm just tired of responsibility as a whole.

I have tried the trash can at the door. The problem is I don't care anymore. I have no true motivation for making another positive change.

My mental health is taking a real beating due to the imbalance. The thoughts created by Borderline Personality Disorder are so black and white. I want shades of grey. I want to accept imperfection and humanness.
0 # It is the all or nothing thing that getsMelanie 2012-01-17 12:30
It is the all or nothing thing that gets me. It truly is. It has to be 100 percent or it isn't even worth trying. That is so frustrating, stressful, and at the moment it is causing a fair amount of burn out.

How does one become ok with middle ground?
0 # OK. Today is a little better. Dishes aMelanie 2012-01-17 19:46
OK. Today is a little better. Dishes are out of the sink. Textbooks are in my book bag. I'm going to turn off this laptop and put it away.

Goodnight Joanna

Thanks for all your help:-)

0 # Dear Melanie, Congratulations! A litpinkjoanna 2012-01-17 21:56
Dear Melanie,

Congratulations! A little at a time will get you there. Everything in gradual increments.

I love that you turned off the laptop and hopefully, went to bed. :-)
So simple and such a win.
0 # Yes, I did. Woke up today and paid aMelanie 2012-01-18 06:49
Yes, I did.

Woke up today and paid a few bills. Made it to the pool and swam a few laps. Ate breakfast, and went to work.

It is so much easier when I have a plan.
0 # Hooray, Melanie. You are getting the grpinkjoanna 2012-01-18 21:30
Hooray, Melanie. You are getting the gradual piece. "a few bills" "a few laps" Nothing major, but in the positive direction. :-)
0 # This morning I made the choice to sleepMelanie 2012-01-19 05:01
This morning I made the choice to sleep in. I have a few homework assignments to turn in. I have done one and have one more.
Read the first chapter in your book last night.
I've got some work ahead of me, but for once I think I will follow the suggestions and not just read the book as an escape from my reality.
0 # Made a pact with the Life Guard to makeMelanie 2012-01-20 06:08
Made a pact with the Life Guard to make it on the morning she works. I think it is good that I am being encouraged to take baby steps even by the lifeguards at my pool.
0 # :)Baby steps are appropriate for begpinkjoanna 2012-01-20 08:52
:-) Baby steps are appropriate for beginning a new and different effort. Your intention is recovery and health. Nice pact. Keep us informed. We are rooting for you.
0 # Will Do. On my way to the pool now.Melanie 2012-01-21 10:38
Will Do.

On my way to the pool now. My favorite life guard is working. I will miss her come May as she will graduate with her nursing degree and move her life forward.
0 # A few bad nights have left me so deflateMelanie 2012-01-23 08:27
A few bad nights have left me so deflated at least physically. I have nightmares about my school performance. I looked at my grade report today and am really unhappy. If this were my child's grade report, I would swear the kid was doing drugs. This isn't the case for me. I've hit on something I don't understand or don't want to face.
0 # Keep doing the exercises in Healing Yourpinkjoanna 2012-01-23 09:07
Keep doing the exercises in Healing Your Hungry Heart. Be gentle with yourself and yet be firm at the same time. As you journal and work with your therapist you may make some discoveries that free you up and get you through this patch.
0 # Doing the exercises in the book would meMelanie 2012-01-23 09:40
Doing the exercises in the book would mean that I could concentrate for more than 47 seconds at a time. I'm everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
0 # That sounds like panicky flight. Can youpinkjoanna 2012-01-23 10:32
That sounds like panicky flight. Can you listen to music? If you can't be still, can you dance to music?

Get some of your movement connected to a structure - like music - and move with the music.

Find out you can let your energy move your body with a companion - music - that will give you support, structure and a way to get to know the flowing of your energy in safety.

Then go into a few minutes of breathing where you watch your breath.

And keep in touch with your therapist so she knows what's going on.
0 # Will call my therapist as I need to scheMelanie 2012-01-23 12:12
Will call my therapist as I need to schedule my next appointment. I am usually her last appt of the day, and she had somewhere to be right after our session so we did not get to schedule the next appt.
0 # Just knowing you have an appointment schpinkjoanna 2012-01-23 14:37
Just knowing you have an appointment scheduled can help you feel and be more grounded. :-)
0 # Oh memylifex2 2015-09-01 23:18
so here I am again trying to sort this whole sleeping thing out. Frustrated right now because my mom is sick with alzheimers and twice a week I stay at her house and sleep in her room because she tries to climb out of the bed. 

I say sleep but I stat awake all night because the recliner sucks amd mom sleeps poorly. This is causing great distress to me and my lupus is flaring up because of it. I am on the go 7 days a week between my full time job and mom.

I hurt all the time. My purging thoughts are coming back because I'm emotionally eating. 
I am panicking all the time from fatigue and going two days a week without sleep. 
We are all pulling our weight. Ive tried to make suggestions to my dad that would enable me to sleep some, but it's falliNG on deaf ears.

i have to watch out for him as his health is not good. If I refuse to sleep on the recliner he will say he will do it- which is just not physically good for him. 

Its just a season i suppose. I haven't had a vacation in 5 years- not one over 2 days, anyway. I need to get to the beach - and soon!

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