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I seem to have fallen into a homeworking/quarantine trap. While I fully support the declarations making their way around social media just now that it is absolutely OK not to feel like you should be self-improving during lockdown, I was genuinely bored and ready to do something. So, I started learning Polish. And I started a correspondence course. And I applied to go back to university for a second masters degree.

Its good. In fact, it’s great, I feel amazing. Apart from one thing. While the quantity of my sleep has increased, the quality has dramatically decreased. While I am in bed now for sometimes up to 10 hours, I wake up maybe 4 or 5 times, I have some really mad dreams and I wake up the next morning exhausted. I’m doing all the right things to prepare myself for a good sleep – no screens for a couple of hours beforehand, nice warm bath sometimes, eating dinner much earlier and I’m so ready to fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. I just can’t seem to stay that way.

There are multiple reasons why this could be, let’s not get into it here though as that is a subject all by itself. Let’s instead, as is always my preference, just complain about why it’s a big problem, even though technically I have as much time to sleep as I want at the moment.

Firstly, there is no such thing as ‘catching up’ on sleep; sleep lost, is sleep lost. Secondly, quality sleep plays an important role in consolidation of memory and learning. This is definitely the reason I am not yet completely fluent in Polish despite at least 4 hours on Duolingo and why I have to set alarms to remind me to do things like feeding the dogs. Lastly, and most importantly (at least for the long-suffering Mr. Jenny), I am the embodiment of a particularly irrational and emotional toddler when I haven’t had enough sleep. Yesterday I literally cried because somebody drank my last bottle of juice. It was me. I drank it.

So here is the conundrum: I’m bored, so I learn. But I can’t sleep so I don’t learn. I’m struggling to learn so I stress. I stress so I can’t sleep. 

There must be a way to break this cycle. I can’t accept that it would be to abandon my learning, it has to be something else. But my thoughts are a bit muddled after another night of dreaming (amongst other things) that I suddenly grew tentacles. So, for now, I’ll just set a reminder on my phone to think about this later.

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