Making Friends with Sleep

Originally posted on March 16, 2018

By Scott Waletzko

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 fell 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’s “Consider 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!

My sleep tracker journey is a bit different from Scott’s.  You see, sleep and I have not always been friends. 

For years, my travel schedule kept me from sleeping well.  Then it was lifestyle, stress, workload… all impacting my sleep. I would lay awake all night and then be an absolute beast all day.  I discovered my wearable had a sleep monitor and I started checking on my hours of sleep.  Based on what was reported, I should’ve been feeling fantastic – I was not.

It was time to improve my sleep hygiene and I began tracking in Maple.  Why do this while using a wearable?  Because that device is great at giving me physiological information – my heart or breathing rate, number of sleep disruptions, etc.  Nice quantifiable information.

Maple helped me track qualitatively – how did I feel before bed?  How rested was I when I woke up?  By looking at these measures I began to realize that the wearable data alone was not telling the entire story.  As Scott mentioned, relying solely on the information that technology offers is not enough.  We are a part of the equation too. When I started to put both types of information together, insights emerged. 

For example, I need a solid 8 hours of sleep.  7 hours and 50 minutes is not the same and it’s not enough.  I literally feel weighed down, unfocused and apathetic on those mornings – my body and mind telling me – “Not yet Chris! We have not finished the critical restoration work that sleep is intended to provide.” 

Tracking my sleep has allowed me to make real changes, for the better.  This is one area of self-care that I am unabashed about.  If I wake up feeling unrested more than two consecutive days then my evening plans change – early to bed. My friends occasionally tease me that grown people are not tucked into bed at 8:45 p.m.  I laugh with them and point out that if that is what they need to take better care of themselves then they should be. No sleep shaming allowed.

I also learned that to avoid that lying-awake-all-night scenario I needed to re-trigger my nightly wind down routine before my mind began racing.  Now, I interrupt those thoughts and remind myself this time is about resting, that is the only goal. I can typically get back to sleep now, even if I wake repeatedly throughout the night. 

Bottom line – I track daily.  It was an easy, fun way to learn more about how to best care for myself. I don’t sleep perfectly every night, but I am much more attuned to what is happening for me – physically, mentally, emotionally, cognitively – because I check with myself about sleep each morning. 

#SleepBetter # SleepHygiene #SelfCare #MeetMaple

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest
Share on email
Share by E-mail


Christine is a consultant, coach and collaborator. Her vision is a tool to nudge people towards the insights that are just out of reach; connecting their deeper thoughts and truest selves to make big leaps forward.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: