Mental Spring Cleaning Week 2 – Sleep Tracking

“To be asleep is to be dead. It is like death. So we dance, we dance so as not to be dead. We do not want that.”

The Illustrated Man (Ray Bradbury)

In the second week of my March Maple Challenge, I added the Sleep Tracker to my daily routine. Every morning for the past 7 days I woke up, grabbed my tablet, and created a tracker. I’d enter the number of hours I slept, rate how I felt before going to bed, rate how I felt waking up, and rate my sleep quality. My favorite part of this exercise was that I’d then create a Sleep / Dream journal entry and quickly tap in everything I remembered about my dreams. For the first few mornings it was difficult to grasp the details of the dreams in my grogginess, but towards the end of the week I was able to remember and document more and more of my visions of slumber. It got to the point where typing on a tablet screen just wasn’t efficient enough – I had too much to enter in at once.

Here’s what I learned from doing this for the week:

•  Rather than rely on my wearable to tell me exactly how many hours of sleep I had, I found that reflecting on what time I feel asleep and how often I thought I woke up had a bit of a Zen-like effect, much like journaling my stress did. It was a good way to stop and reflect on the sleep I just had, and transition to being awake.

As a related sidebar, I feel like we are starting to rely way too much on technology to tell us what’s going on with ourselves, rather than using technology to record our understanding of the world around us. This is a theme I’ll revisit at the end of the month, and it’s a core part of what we built Maple to be (even if we didn’t intend that, exactly).

•  Journaling your dreams when you first wake up is a great way to engage your conscious mind with your subconscious. I found that this got easier as the week went on, and I was able to remember more and more details from my dreams, including actual dialog (which felt important since we choose our specific words for a reason). Sometimes I have no idea what my mind is trying to tell itself (because after all isn’t that what dreams are?) but I was never bored while I slept, that’s for sure.

•  I have some ludicrously complicated and detailed dreams. They go on for-EVER and span multiple locations, with casts of dozens if not hundreds of people (some from real life, some just supporting characters I made up, I guess). As I got better at remembering the details it got to be difficult to document everything each night; there was just too much to remember. It got to the point where I’d try to focus on documenting just on the important or unique details (as opposed to what color each character was wearing or exactly how the rooms were laid out).

•  I know I dream all night long, but I can only remember the dreams I am having right before I wake up. I resisted the urge to journal my dreams if I woke up in the middle of the night (just because screen time is so bad for you in the dark), but I wish I had been able to. I feel like if I continue my dream journaling, eventually I might be able to remember more of what’s happening in my head deeper in the night.

•  I don’t know if I’ve ever done this before, but last night I dreamt in the third person. It was like watching a TV show, one that I wasn’t even in. It was like I was the camera. And just like a TV show it was action packed, to the point where I woke up from the excitement. Anyone else dream in the third person?

I’ll keep tracking my stress and sleep and starting this week I’ll be adding daily Reflections. I’m planning on using the prompts from Crys Wood’sConsider It (Vol 1)” Reflection package, which is exclusive to Maple (available for purchase in the Maple Store). She did a great job putting together these prompts just for our users, and since she’s a master at sparking insight with just a few words I’m looking forward to adding this to my routine.

I’ll let you know how it goes next week. Until then, Happy Mapling!



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Scott Waletzko is the managing partner responsible for all things technical at R. Alliance, including the design and development of Maple.

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