Daily Thoughts 196: What Happened to Sleep?

Author's selfieI wonder what happened to sleep? Children often don’t have this problem, except my son, who hates sleeping because he’s too busy creating. But many children, I think, sleep 10 or more hours without thinking about it. Sure, they may have a nightmare or something that wakes them up but then after some soothing words are right back to sleep while the parent imparting those soothing words struggles to do the same.

Tracking Sleep With Fitbit

I track my sleep with my Fitbit, sort of. It uses the accelerometer to track movements in your non-dominant arm. The concept is simple: when you sleep, you don’t move much. Small movements are tagged as ‘restless’ and larger movements as ‘awake’.

Fitbit sleep tracking graph
I’m often not making even a 7 hour goal. Hmmm.

My older Fitbit One doesn’t track sleep stages the way newer devices do by also looking at heart rate. That means that I can be awake, my brain active, not moving and the Fitbit records me as asleep. Even so, despite potential inaccuracies, it gives you a sense of how you’re doing with your sleep.

Isn’t this the perfect example of how sleep has changed since I was a kid? I didn’t even consider tracking sleep until I was in college trying to get together a group to research lucid dreams!

Not that I’m complaining. I like logging data, analyzing it, and considering what we can learn. It’s not the best data right now, although the new devices might be better. For now, I’m going to stick to my current device but I’d be interested in hearing what people think of the Alta HR? How does it work for you?

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This blog post by Ryan M. Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Daily Thoughts 111: Walking

Author's SelfieThis morning I enjoyed a nice walk with Zombies, Run! keeping me company. It reminded me of the importance of just getting outside and moving. It’s really easy to slip into the “I don’t have time” trap. Recently, I’ve done that more than I’d like. Some days I do need to prioritize other things (like sleep), but I find I stick to something when I don’t give myself an option, when I remove willpower from the equation. Our brains get tired of making decisions. Removing the choice has proven effective for me in the past. For a long stretch, I walked every morning because I didn’t leave myself a choice. There was just no option. Get up, go out and walk. The more barriers eliminated, the better. Wear the clothes you plan to walk in to bed so you can get up, put on shoes (unless walking barefoot), and head out decision free.

Stepping Up

Screenshot of FitBit dashboardWith all of that in mind, I’m want to aim for a challenging goal (challenging for me).

10,000 steps every day

I’ve done that successfully for periods of time. Now, I’m going to emphasize it a bit more. My strategy for meeting this goal is to get out and walk first thing. I have a few ideas to help me meet the goal.

  • No excuses, no decisions. Walk first thing after getting up.
  • No computer until over 5,000 steps.
  • Make a plan for handling unusual days and put it on the calendar, set an alarm, whatever it takes.
  • No going to bed until I have in 10,000 steps.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote a post about writing with chronic health problems. It’s worth checking out.

The best exercise for you is the one you’ll actually do. The one you look forward to. The one you enjoy.

That is key. Like Kris, I enjoy walking. I may work up to running. I might not. Sometimes I turn on the zombie chases and run a bit. We’ll see. Regardless, I’m going to stick to the 10,000 steps goal. Miss a day? I’m not going to beat myself up, I’ll just start again. I like streaks and find them motivational. Like posting to this blog each day.

Multitude of Projects

I have no shortage of projects to work on.

Once I finish my MLIS classes, I’ll have more opportunities to pursue some of my other plans. I’m going to keep working on my writing challenge and the sketch challenge. Until I have more flexibility in my day, I may not get much more than that done. With only about 6 weeks left in the semester, the end is fast approaching!

I have some fundamental objectives to work on this year. I want to improve my illustration, design, coding, and writing skills. All of those will play roles in my massive reboot. I’m planning to do more with a number of projects around my creations.

Attitude Shift

Back in 2009, when I first attended the master class for writers on the Oregon coast, my goal was clear: get off the day job and write full time. Things change! My focus shifted as I rededicated my attention to my career in libraries. That shift helped relieved the pressure I put on my writing. Now I’m creating what I want simply because I want to! Any writer (even those writing full time) needs to write first for themselves, but it’s hard to do when you put the pressure of supporting yourself and your family on your writing.

With this attitude shift and the reboot project, I plan to release new editions, new titles, and other projects with a different focus. I want to get my books, stories, etc., into as many hands as possible. I want to share widely and keep the price of items low. I’m not focusing on the greatest profit. It’d be great to break even at this point! Regardless, I think time spent on creative efforts is worthwhile.