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Archive for the ‘Sleep’ Category

No, I didn’t totally forget about my personal Better Sleep Challenge! While this little project didn’t go as planned, I did learn a lot during the past few weeks.

My original intention was to get more sleep during the work week by going to bed at 10:30 pm on Monday to Thursday. Honestly, that totally didn’t happen. Screwed! While I did come close on a few days, more often than not I stayed up until way past 11 pm.

But I think I did at least figure out a few ways to improve my quality of sleep. I’ve made an effort to get all my preparations for the next day (packing breakfast, lunch, and snacks, laying out my clothes, packing my gym bag) done earlier in the evening, so that I can really relax and unwind afterwards. I also skipped my usual late night hot chocolate on most nights, as I’ve found that the cocoa and the sugar, even if only small amounts, kept me alert and awake for quite a while. Surprisingly, I did manage to turn off my laptop at around 10 pm almost every night, even if there were still a few unread posts left in my Google Reader.

I’ve also learned that a strict, early bed time created a lot of pressure, which made falling asleep even harder for me.

The bottom line is that I can’t force myself to do something that I don’t really want.

I know I should get more sleep during the week, but I just can’t force myself to go to bed when I’m not ready yet. I want to finish watching a thrilling movie, read some interesting blog posts, and talk and cuddle with my husband. Even if it’s not rational, those things are more important to me than an extra 30 minutes of sleep.

After all, I still have the weekends to catch up on missed sleep.

And with that, I’m off to bed!

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Project Better Sleep – Week 1

Last week I announced my personal Project Better Sleep. Today I have to confess that my first week was a total failure. Oops!

I planned to go to bed at 10:30 pm on Monday to Thursday, but that totally didn’t happen. On Monday and Wednesday I got at least close to my goal, being in bed before 11 pm. And I totally paid for it. On Friday and Saturday I was so tired that I took a two-hour nap on each day.

Why is it so hard for me to stick to an earlier bedtime? I think there are two reasons. First, I just can’t finish my ‘preparations’ for the next day in time. I always pack breakfast, lunch, and snacks, lay out my clothes, and sometimes pack my gym bag if I plan to workout during my lunch break or after work. Despite the fact that I have streamlined the whole procedure as much as possible, it still takes quite a while every night. This week I’ll try to get all my prep work done right after dinner, so that I can relax the rest of the night.

Second, there’s some personal drama going on in my life at the moment, that has literally been giving me sleepless nights. Arctic cold, broken shower for five days, financial issues – but worrying doesn’t change anything, so I’ll try to focus on the good things in my life right now.

Although week one wasn’t successful, I won’t give up and continue my little project until the end of the month, like I originally planned.

Time to go to bed!

See you!

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Project Better Sleep

Now that my personal off-season is almost over, I’ve been thinking about how to prepare for my upcoming races. I used to think that I just need to get my long runs and my weekly mileage in, and that’s it. But apparently I was wrong. When you are training for a race, you also need to care about proper fuel and recovery.

What to eat before, during, and after training runs or races is a very personal thing, and I’m still trying to figure it out, but I really love the running fuel tips over at NoMeatAthlete.com. And Caitlin from the blog HealthyTippingPoint.com wrote a great post about how to recover quickly after long, tough runs.

But today’s post is about the one thing that I’m struggling with the most: Sleep! Because of my job I have to get up at 5:30 am every morning. But as I’m a natural night owl, I have a hard time going to bed before 11 pm. As I can’t fall asleep immediately, I get about 6 hours of sleep per night. While this is enough for many people, it is definitely not enough for me, especially when I’m going to increase my weekly mileage again. I’ve already noticed, that I’m very tired on most days, struggling with lack of concentration all day long. The problem is, all the sleepiness is gone after 9 pm, so I usually can’t motivate myself to go to bed at a (for me!) reasonable time.

For a while I’ve tried to simply accept my current situation, thinking that I don’t really need more sleep, that I’m totally fine with only 6 hours per night during the week, as long as I can sleep in on the weekends, but this approach just isn’t working on a long-term basis.

So here’s the deal: During the month of February, I’ll try to go to bed at 10:30 pm on Monday to Thursday, which should give me about half an hour of extra sleep per night. Doesn’t sound like much, I know, but it’s a start. Additionally, I hope to improve my quality of sleep, which will include turning off my laptop about 30 minutes before bedtime, and a few other strategies.

How long do you sleep? Do you feel like it is enough?

See you!

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