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More and more of us go to bed too late because of sleep procrastination. What are the nighttime rituals that keep you up before finally dozing off?

Oh, boy! This is a question I ask myself a lot. I am a sleep procrastinator — and having thought about why — I think I hate to see another day end. I always mean to be in bed by 11:00, but I find little excuses for staying up just a little bit later.

Once I finally stop what I’m doing and make my way upstairs, my bedtime rituals begin. I always brush my teeth thoroughly, take my medication, and then get in bed. I read every night to help me fall asleep (that’s been a ritual for nearly 50 years). I use a flashlight and have a number of them so I’m always prepared, and generally am dozing off within 20-30 minutes. I get irritated if I can’t follow this ritual for some reason. My husband sometimes makes a negative comment if I end up reading for too long, but I really like to drift off while reading. Then I set my book, flashlight, and glasses aside, stretch and do some slow deep breathing, and roll over on the right side in the fetal position and go to sleep. Same every night.

My mornings are pretty ritualized too, and I don’t like to have my routine changed. During the day I’m more flexible, but I must admit that I do like doing things in my own time, my own way.

My routines also help with my anxiety (for which I am medicated), and ADD, which wasn’t diagnosed until I was fully an adult. They didn’t diagnose those thing when I was a kid, probably didn’t even know about it. I can remember some boys in school who were regularly paddled for behavior and I reckon they were ADD-affected. But discipline was much more rigorous than, and yes, paddling was allowed in the ’50’s. I attended a church-affiliated school through 8th grade.

I am not OCD. Really. With good reason I can change my routine and be unperturbed by it. Sometimes wash I were more laid back, or could fall asleep in any position like my husband does, but I’ve learned to live with me and accept my foibles.

 

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