I’m having one of those weeks. You know the kind where no matter how hard you push yourself (in work and in life) you don’t feel like you are crossing off anything on your to-do list?
I knew the weeks leading up to April were going to be rough. I have a client expecting a decision from the FDA very shortly and another who just launched a new app. The fact that my to-do list can’t seem to have a beautiful pink line drawn through it is making me beyond anxious. That lack of lines make me feel like nothing has been accomplished though I know we are making progress.
I’ve been forcing myself to break for exercise, but other things are slipping like my nutrition. No seriously, the other day I had a bag of edamame for lunch at 4pm and dinners are well past the normal eating time. Knowing my anxiety level is starting to hit supernova level I decided to take my rest day and turn it into a yoga day. I could only get in 40 minutes before my brain told me I couldn’t continue, that I needed to get other stuff done.
I hate that. I just want to be able to relax at night and sleep. God, I would love some uninterrupted sleep. The time change (though I love having more daylight at night) has really wrecked me.
So yeah, it is one of those weeks where I just want it to be over.
I have a cut off for exercise. If I haven’t done it by 7:30 pm then it just isn’t going to happen that day. It just gets too complicated with eating dinner and getting home to shower and all that jazz.
Plus I was convinced that if I exercised too close to bedtime (and I am not talking about yoga here) I would be awake for hours because my body would be revved up. Honestly, that thought process was thrown out the window last week when I went to a blogger spin meet up at Revolve DC. Since it started at 7:45, I was breaking all sorts of rules. I made the effort to eat dinner before I left (don’t judge the two meals at my desk that day), told my hubby he was on his own and set off.
The class was great and when I got home at 9, I was beyond exhausted. I showered and then immediately went to bed. No tossing and turning, just straight up knocked out. Then this week the National Sleep Foundation released a survey showing that there was no difference in sleep quality between those who exercised early in the day vs. those who exercise at night.
In an interview with the Huffington Post (see graph below), Michael A. Grandner, Ph.D. an instructor of psychiatry and a member of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine program at the University of Pennsylvania, said “If you can get your activity [at least] an hour or two before bed, that’s probably ideal. But chances are you’re probably not going to get the intensity or duration you’d need for it to impair your sleep.”
I am thinking as long as I find a way to eat dinner before, I might be picking up a few 8pm classes I’ve been avoiding.
On a typical day my alarm goes off at or around 6:30 a.m and I am in bed around 11:00 p.m. In between that time I am exercising, working, running errands, making dinner, making plans, doing laundry…the list is endless. And my weekends are not really filled with days of sleeping in, even if I am beyond exhausted.
I recently read an article that said: “young women have accepted exhaustion as a normal state of being.” Last year, the CDC proclaimed insufficient sleep a public health epidemic. Even more concerning…an American Psychological Association survey showed a large gap between the level of stress people say they experience and what they think is healthy.
Many of us don’t even realize how tired we are. With serious fatigue comes a continuous rush of the stress hormone cortisol, which can act as a mental and physical stimulant. And your brain rewards you for that big score at work, releasing feel good chemicals. So highly charged people don’t sense that they are burning out.
So how do you go from ragged to rejuvenated?
By now, I have identified my warning signs: bitchiness, uncontrollably laughing that turns into crying, inability to focus. This usually means it’s time to get in bed earlier and give up one of my activities (usually exercising) until my body feels like it can work at full steam.
I’d also really like to bring naps back…just saying.
I go through spurts where sleep just doesn’t come easy for me. Lately it has been when I am in NYC in the hotel and when I am there for a week, it completely wrecks me.
A full 2/3 of Americans say they have trouble getting enough sleep at least once a week. It used to be that I was afraid of missing something…there is a story about 3-year-old Laney screaming in her room that she couldn’t go to sleep because she had to do her homework. Now I think it is mostly stress related.
Nearly 1/3 of American women use some kind of sleep aid at least a few nights a week. I am one of them.
I recently read an article in SHAPE that provided a 12-step program to get back on track. Some of the items I already do kinda, but I am giving it a go at being more diligent. The steps are listed below. I’ll report back in a month about my progress.
Unplug: We don’t have a TV in our room, but I am guilty of bringing my laptop to bed. Since getting my Kindle I have become an avid reader, so I will aim to do that more.
Ease up on caffeine: This isn’t really an issue for me, but I will try not to drink any green tea after 4 pm.
Don’t over-hydrate: I keep a water bottle by my bed, especially when I am training. There are a few times that I get up in the middle of the night.
Build a great nest: Sheets and pillows are incredibly important to me. I recently purchased a new set of pillows because the feather ones my hubby likes just weren’t working for me.
Keep your cool: My hubby and I argue about the room temp all the time. I like it cold, windows open in the winter. Somehow we need to compromise on that 65 degrees.
Make your bed: Apparently 44% of people who make their beds daily report snoozing more soundly. This is an easy fix.
Hit the gym in the AM: Tough for me, I like training in the morning, but getting my cardio in at night. Research says that 7 AM workouts improved sleep quality more than late-day exercise. New move: take a steamy shower after that PM session.
Get up on Sundays: I sleep in a bit on the weekends. New move: sleep in within a hour of your weekday wake-up time.
Nix the nightcap: Not really an issue for me.
Swap warm milk for cherry juice: It contains melatonin and research shows that people who drink it regularly sleep an extra 25 minutes.
Follow your nose: Taking a whiff of lavender may help improve sleep. I have some aromatherapy lotion from Bath & Body Works that I will be utilizing.
The last step is seeking a professionals help. I am hoping it doesn’t get to that point. What are your sleep tricks?
Have you ever had a long night at the office and then gone back to work the next morning hating life? What about even having a late night out with your friends and having to be on a client call at 9:00 a.m.?
The average person now spends 45 hours each week at work. And that number doesn’t take into account additional job-related work people do from home, thanks largely to technology.
Nearly 50 million Americans suffer from sleep problems and disorders that are compounded by, you guessed it, work. Longer work days that extend late into the night get in the way of a good night’s sleep.
Lack of sleep can actually impair your job satisfaction.
At TedWomen in December, Arianna Huffington talked about sleep’s role in your professional life and how it can unlock brilliant ideas.
“The way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep,” she said. “We are literally going to sleep our way to the top — literally!”
I have always been a poor sleeper. Blame it on what I call my stress genetics but at three, I was sitting in my bed crying about how I had to do my homework before I could go the bed.
It wasn’t until college that I even started to like nap time. Even then it wasn’t so much as napping as getting a full night’s sleep in the middle of the afternoon.
I always thought exercising more could be the answer. I mean studies have shown that some of the more common causes of insomnia (depression, stress and anxiety) can all be reduced by exercising.
But, a recent study published in Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise says it may not be so true. Looking at a bunch of Swiss college students researchers found:
More than 16 percent of the students who rated themselves low on the fitness scale actually exercised the most and reported sleeping less
Those with high fitness levels and high fitness scales, slept better and were less likely to ruminate about unresolved problems
As a representative of Type Aers I have to say duh. If you give a Type A something to keep track of like that, they are going to immediately think they can do it better. And they are going to stay up at night or wake up earlier than necessary to make sure they get those extra cardio minutes in.
So exercise may reduce stress, but if you hype yourself up again after the effects may be sufficiently lost.