I've read many articles lately about how important sleep is for our health. The most recent was a particularly good one. Sleep affects all kinds of things, from our weight to our moods to our blood pressure. It gives our body a chance to heal and restore.

I've been a night owl for years. I'd developed my own little system--stay up late reading, watching television, cleaning house, browsing blogs and interesting websites, or writing. I went to bed late (always well after midnight) and got up early every morning (6 a.m.) because no matter how late I stayed up, I still had to get my children up and ready for school. I'd go this way for a week or two, until I hit a wall.

I always hit a wall, eventually, and when I did, I spent a day being pretty useless. Tired, I'd recline for a little power nap and several hours later, I'd finally come back to life.

When I decided to do this half marathon, I decided that I needed more sleep. I'm no longer in my teens or twenties (or even thirties) and I knew my body needed more sleep if I was going to be able to do this. Several things I'd read on running stressed the importance of recovery after workouts and I knew I needed to give my body every advantage I could since it's already working with several disadvantages (age, knees, extra pounds, frizzy hair, etc.).

I've tried hard over the past nine months or so to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. I know that isn't perfect, but it sure beats the 4 1/2 to 5 I was getting before. It has made a big difference and even though I'm still struggling to beat years-long bad habits, I've made improvements.

Until the last few days. The last four or five days, I've fallen off the sleep wagon. I blame all the reading I'm trying to do (and Stephanie Black's Rearview Mirror didn't help), but the last few days my sleep has been back to between 4 and 5 hours and my energy during my workouts has reflected it. So has my productivity during the day and so have my moods.

So today I recommit to being in bed between 10 and 11 p.m. No more reading until 2 a.m. No more getting involved in a movie that won't end until 1 a.m. No more late-night news and from now on Psych will be recorded for viewing the next day. (Who decided 11 p.m. was a good time to air a new episode of a series anyway?)

Why don't you join me and let's start a whole club of well-rested people. And if you see me on Words With Friends after 11 p.m., just pretend you're my mom and tell me it's past time for bed.


missy said...

I'm with you! Great advice. Funny thing, I'm sitting here reading this - completely exhausted - barely having enough energy to get up and get ready for bed. I have to pick up my kids from play practice in a bit and then I'm crashing. 5:15 comes SO early!

By the way, I love your new photo!

Emily R. King said...

I struggle with reading late or blogging late, too. Just one more chapter! Just one more blog! Lately I've hit the wall and I'm getting back on track, too. But I could always do better.

Tawnie said...

There is something in your families genes. So many of you are able to function on so little sleep. I can't do it. I don't function without enough sleep so it's priority!!!
Good job! I think it's great that you have noticed a difference.

Anonymous said...

Good job, Karey. I used to be able to function on 5 or 6 hours of sleep, but not anymore.
At least two nights a week I seem to have insomnia and i don't know why. It is really annoying to lay in bed for hours and not be able to sleep, especially when you know how exhausted you are going to be when morning comes. I really do try, we go to bed before or by 11 p.m. So, if anyone has any suggestions on how to fall asleep without taking pills, please let me know. LMH

Kristi said...

I need more sleep than Spencer, but he has followed me to bed most night around 11:00. He gets up at 5:30 or 6:00. That's not great but better than what I know he would like to do. I am so afraid that his lack of sleep will catch up to him while he is on a long drive for work or something.
I need 7 hours and then sometimes a nap during the day or I will crash at 9:00. Pregnancy puts high demands on my sleep patterns.