March challenge and reflection on the February challenge

March showed up and I was unprepared! I wrote about doing some sort of challenge of getting through the exam material for the exam I have slated for April, and might push back to May due to my slower start. I'm diving into the book and think I'll have to do more reading and practicing than I optimistically expected. My goal is to get through the book and requisite information in March, run practice tests in April, and sit for the test in May. This means I'll slow down on weekly social gathering and do them twice monthly at most for this month and next month. I'll also suspend weekly piano practicing and anything other than the minimum workout in the gym. I want to make sure I'm giving myself enough time to read and prepare.

February's sleep challenge crashed. I couldn't sleep. I didn't find a good set light alarm time that didn't wake me up too soon. I would wake up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep. If I took Zzzquil I often felt groggy the next morning, it was just a month of sleep issues and guilt about having the sleep issues.

I decided to abandon it and just sleep when I could sleep and not worry about waking up at a certain time (unless it was for work). I did implement wellness apps on my phone, like the Wind Down feature that turns the phone to grayscale and sets it to Do Not Disturb (only shows notifications from certain people when they call) at 9pm, and it doesn't turn off until 6am the next day. I liked that feature, but I don't know how much it actually helped. Setting a bedtime seemed to help for a while, but there were too many instances where I'd go through my bedtime routine, and then just lie in bed waiting to fall asleep for a few hours. I do like the routine portion and wonder if I need to adjust other things around the routine, like not using the computer or watching TV after 9pm, and instead reading on my Kindle, which doesn't cause any unintentional eye strain. I also sometimes would forego my guided meditation because I already felt sleepy, but then in a half hour in bed, I felt like I should have, because I'd hadn't yet fallen asleep.

This week, I'll start the bedroom routine earlier = at 8:30 or 9pm, I'll close the computer, stop watching any TV and instead pick up a physical book or my Kindle. I'll read until 9:30pm when I'll move to the bathroom, take care of my teeth and braces, then head to the bedroom and listen to the guided meditation, then I'll put my phone somewhere I can't reach easily, and go to bed. I'll reflect how I feel each morning, and how long it felt like to fall asleep.

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