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Who Needs Sleep?

I need sleep.  I’m not one of those people who does well without it.  I mean, I manage, but I hate how I feel all day.  I love the alertness, calm and energy that comes from being well-rested.  Sleep is my friend, not my enemy as many people seem to view it in our harried society.

Sometimes, though, my body thinks that it doesn’t need sleep.  I’m not sure why.  Sometimes it’s obvious- I’m anxious about something, or the sleeping conditions aren’t right for me.  But often times, I’ll go through a bout of mild insomnia that doesn’t make any sense.  I spent years, actually, having erratic sleeping patterns.  Not outright insomnia, like one of my sisters has, but just irregular sleep.  I did everything that the experts recommend except exercise regularly.  And I must admit- ever since I’ve been a regular fitness fanatic, the episodes have been few and far between.  In fact, it’s one of the biggest motivators to keep exercising at the rate I am- nothing beats a good night sleep!

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I’m having one of my troubling sleep spells and I have no idea why.  It started last week, so I initially chalked it up to the three-day weekend throwing me off.  It’s not like I haven’t slept at all since then, and Sunday was actually a terrific slumber.  This may have something to do with the fact that I also had my longest run ever- a great 11 mile trek through Old Town down the Mount Vernon Trail and back.  It was beautiful weather, and my body felt good.  My legs were hurting at the end, but I walked around a bit after I was done, diligently stretched and foam rolled.  And had a great night sleep.  And my legs are still feeling happy.  So is my body saying that I need to run 11 miles every day in order to sleep well? (Hehe).

But last night, I barely slept, for whatever reason.  I was tired when I went to bed…but just couldn’t get my brain to shut down.  I had tried to reserve a spot for spin class at 6 am, but there was a wait list which surprised me- every other week I’ve just walked in and gotten a bike.  So I was a little apprehensive about the thought of getting up uber early and driving over only to not have a spot.  I also got super hot and kept kicking the covers off.  I also had ‘Born this Way’ stuck in my head- not exactly a ‘relaxation song.’

Finally, sometime around midnight, I turned off my 5:15 am alarm.  I was still getting up at 5:45, our normal time.  But I decided that not only was spin not worth it, my husband deserved a little extra sleep at this point since he has to work late tonight and then is off on work travel tomorrow.  I would feel really bad getting him up early, only to come back sometime shortly after 6 because I couldn’t get into spin. 

Well, my husband woke up with a migraine this morning anyway, so it’s actually good that I ditched the spinning.  I would feel guilty leaving him there to suffer.  So for the second morning in a row, I didn’t work out but instead stretched for about 25 minutes both days, which I think is doing wonders for my legs’ recovery.  I also decided that instead of ANOTHER rest day, which would make me grumpy, I’d try to squeeze in a lunch time Mall run and some strength training. I like to think of it as tough love- my body may be acting out, but it still must fulfill its responsibilities.  I don’t want to fall into a troubling cycle of not working out because I didn’t sleep, and not sleeping because I didn’t work out, which is what I used to do.  Besides, I have a half marathon to still prepare for!

The three-mile jog was great- it was a beautiful ‘winter’ day again and aside from being tired my body once again felt good.  I did not get to do any toning exercises though because I was STARVING when I got back- another pleasant side effect of sleep deprivation, I’ve found.  But at least I got something in.  I’m nervous about the possibility of no cross training this week (I can’t figure out how to fit in another spin class), but I like that I was able to enjoy the weather and I think spacing my weekday runs out, instead of the back to back on Thursday and Friday as I initially planned, will be smarter considering I’m facing my final long run of 12 miles this weekend (woohoo!). 

So, to end this long rant, I’m annoyed because my work-outs haven’t gone exactly as planned in the last week and for not what I deem a ‘good reason’.  However I have been lucky enough to move things around, and given how good my body is feeling otherwise, maybe the alternate schedule is more what my body needs as my half marathon training enters its final phase.  We shall see- hopefully my body gets its act together soon.  It usually does as long as I just let it run its course and maintain an otherwise normal routine for myself.  I’m going to need a well-rested body for my first half! 

Am I totally weird, or does this also happen to others?


6 responses »

  1. I use to have lots of these nights…part of it was stress but the other part was too much caffeine during my day. Not sure if you drink coffee but I was drinking an Americano a day at one point. I decided I wanted to stop drinking coffee to make sure I wasn’t addicted. After a couple days I noticed I was sleeping earlier and with a lot less interruptions. It was awesome, I still drink coffee but now its more like a once a week thing at most. Not even sure you drink coffee but this all sounded so similar.

    • That’s really interesting, and now that I think about it, I have been drinking a different kind of tea in the last week or so. I do drink coffee, but just a small cup. That may still be part of the problem too, but I’ll try switching to decaf tea and see what happens. Thanks!

  2. trouble sleeping is the worst. I used to have issues where I couldn’t turn my brain off at the end of the day and had troubles falling asleep. Then I had a baby and now I’m so exhausted I fall asleep the second my head hits the pillow! sorry, I don’t have any useful advice on how to get a better night’s sleep unless you are in the market for a baby 🙂

    • Nope, I’m still too busy enjoying all my free time to start baby-prepping! 🙂 Glad to know I’m not the only one who does all the right things but can still have sleeping issues though. Misery loves company!

  3. I hate that! The worst is not being able to sleep because you’re stressed about not getting enough sleep! 🙂

  4. Pingback: Sleeping « Run for 2012

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