Thursday, July 15, 2010

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

I'm starting to think my unhealthiest habit isn't my love affair with cake or my lengthy list of excuses not to work out. The worst thing I do to my body is fail to get enough sleep on a regular basis.

I've always been much more of a night owl than a morning person, and it wasn't hard to get away with that sort of schedule when I could balance my late nights with sleeping in later than most people do. I still used to average 6-7 hours of sleep per night, never 8, but I functioned reasonably well.

Ever since I started getting up at 6am to swim most mornings, I've been operating on even less sleep, because I haven't balanced that out with an earlier bedtime. I generally go to bed sometime between 12 and 1, which means I'm getting 5-6 hours of sleep most nights, and it's just not enough. It's a vicious cycle that self-perpetuates and gets worse and worse. I'm not getting enough sleep, so I'm tired all day and not working or performing other tasks efficiently. This leads to having to stay up later to get enough work hours in or find time to get other things done....and then I'm even MORE tired the next day. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Recently I've read that lack of sleep impedes weight loss, and it's easy to see how this is true. Sometimes when I'm sleepy I turn to sugary treats to give me a little pick-me-up. And some mornings I am just too exhausted to get up and swim. I believe there are also physiological explanations of how sleep deprivation impedes weight loss but I can't recall them offhand. All I know for sure is that I'm tired, and I don't know how to fix it.

I love the idea of having enough energy every day to be able to do everything I need to do in a timely fashion. I just don't know how to reverse the cycle in which I'm currently stuck. How do I force myself to go to bed at a reasonable time every night, especially if that hour arrives and I still have things I need to do? How do I adjust my thinking to make sleep a higher priority?

Maybe I should have saved this post for a "Tuesday Tips" entry, since what I need is some advice on how to get more sleep so I can be healthier. But I'm really sleepy today after staying up way too late the last 3 nights (and most nights last week as well) and I feel like I'm close to a breaking point. Please help if you can! And please forgive me if this post is not well-written...I'm definitely not as good with words when I'm overtired. So see, it's in your best interests as a reader of my blog to help me get more sleep so that what you read makes sense. :) Thanks!

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