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Posts from the ‘Sleep’ Category

Day 12: I’m in the double digits

Despite the ups and downs of the past two weeks, I’ve hit double digits on my step streak. Today marks 10 straight days of walking 15,000 steps a day. Woo hoo!

Now that I seem to have this whole step thing somewhat under control, I think it’s time to start working on getting my sleep on track. Sleep has eluded me since childhood, so I kinda sorta feel like this is going to be a much harder goal to hit. There’s just so much info out there on how to get more (and better) sleep. I need a plan, and I need it before Monday.

Monday is the day.

That means, I need to get smart on all things sleep related. So, from now until then, I’m going to listen to podcasts about sleep, read articles and books about sleep, think about sleep, and write about sleep. Exciting stuff, huh?

It gets better: Monday is also the day of my next Bod Pod.

Although I did make it to the gym a few times this month, I don’t expect any significant changes. I didn’t really do all that well with restricting my eating window, and the scale says I’m bloated. My measurements haven’t change much either.

I’m still looking forward to it though – It’s a great starting point to see what getting proper sleep can do (assuming I’m successful at getting proper sleep that is).

Speaking of sleep, it is past my bedtime. Hasta mañana!

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Day 5: The things we do

It’s almost 11pm and I’m walking laps in our hotel room. My family and I are here for a retreat of sorts, and as I was laying in bed, getting ready to go to sleep, I remembered my step goal. Almost reflexively, I checked my watched and there it was: 9,478 steps. I was a bit over 5,000 steps short. So, despite not really wanting to, I sucked it up, got out of bed, and started pacing.

Now, walking around a dark room when I’d rather be sleeping isn’t fun, but it isn’t the end of the world. I’m certain (hoping) the sense of satisfaction I’ll have when I hit my goal will make it all worth it. That being said, on nights like these I can’t help but wonder:

1. Is this crazy? Am I being weirdly obsessive, or am I just really dedicated to hitting this goal?

2. Is walking 15,000 steps worth losing an hour of sleep?

Funny enough, it’s the sleep question that concerns me. The more I read (and listen) about the importance of sleep, the harder I want to try to make sure I get enough of it (and the more conflicted I am when faced with having to choose between hitting my step goal and going to bed).

Granted, there’s an easy fix for this: I just need to get all my steps in earlier in the day. Unfortunately, given my track record, that’s easier said than done. So, to pass the time as I stumble about, I’ve decided to brainstorm ways of hitting my step goal before it gets too late.

  1. Take the dog for a walk in the mornings (this one is iffy since it interferes with my gym time – assuming I stick with the whole going to the gym thing…)
  2. Start doing cardio (definitely an option, but not on a daily basis)
  3. Set an alarm to go off every hour and take a 5-minute walk whenever it rings
  4. Park farther away from wherever I’m going
  5. Take stairs instead of elevators
  6. Pace when waiting, instead of standing or sitting (I already do this one)
  7. Take the dog for a longer afternoon walk (unless it’s really hot out)

I feel like I should be able to come up with more, but since my watch just buzzed (alerting me to the fact that I’ve hit my step goal for the day) I’m going to leave it at 7 and go back to bed. It’s a 3-day step streak!

If you have any suggestions for ways I can get in some extra steps (that you wouldn’t mind sharing), please let me know! I could use all the help I can get!

Day 3: Let’s try this again

I turned 38 yesterday by catching up on work, playing around with my new dermaroller, and going to Korean BBQ for dinner with my husband and our friends. It may not have been the most exciting of days, but it was the sort of day I needed: quiet and relaxing.

My plan was to get all of my steps in before dinner because I knew it’d be hard to get them all in afterwards, but the day flew by. Dinner came and went. At 9 pm, I was still about 6,000 steps short.

I wasn’t worried (although I probably should have been). I’ve walked thousands of steps before by doing laps around my living room, so I figured I’d just suck it up and get pacing. Unfortunately, I messed up. My little guy wanted to lay in bed with me to fall asleep. I wasn’t in the mood for bedtime drama, so I took the easy route and I gave in.

It worked. He fell asleep easily… but, so did I.

One minute, I’m laying in bed, thinking about how many laps I’ll need to walk to get 15,000 steps before midnight. The next minute, I’m waking up, it’s 6 am, and I’m still wearing my contact lenses. Obviously, I didn’t hit my step goal. Talk about a great start to this challenge!

Its ok though. I’m not discouraged. I’m not throwing in the towel. I’m just going to start over again today. No biggie. That’s the great thing about getting up in the morning (even for us non-morning people): a new day brings new beginnings and new opportunities for change.

Speaking of change, I listened to Dr. Rangan Chatterjee’s latest podcast episode on sleep today. Dr. Chatterjee is the author of the book, “How to Make Disease Disappear,” which I’m obsessed with inspired my goals for this latest attempt at my 15,000 steps challenge. I’ve known for a while that sleep is important, but it wasn’t until I read Dr. Chatterjee’s book that I really understood just how much sleep affects my overall health.

Sleep impacts everything. For example, there was a study done in 2011 to measure how sleep deprivation affects muscle mass growth and recovery. They took a group of people, put them on a diet, and then split them into two smaller groups: one that was supposed to sleep 5.5 hours a night and another that slept 8.5 hours a night. At the end of the study, the people who slept less had 60% less muscle mass than when they started. The other group had actually gained 40% more muscle mass. Back when I did my Experiments 1 and 2, I didn’t even consider how sleep might impact my efforts in the gym. I focused solely on my workouts and the number of calories I ate. I was certain my experiments failed because I didn’t eat enough protein or work out hard enough, but it’s entirely possible my poor sleep habits were to blame.

This is the main takeaway I got from Dr. Chatterjee’s book: the body is interconnected. There isn’t just one thing that will cause you to gain weight, get ill, or feel bad. It’s everything. It’s all the different choices you make and how they interact with each other in your body. It’s genetics, environment, what you eat, what you think, how you feel, what you do, and what you don’t do.

That’s why there’s no magic pill and there likely won’t ever be.

After listening to this podcast episode, I’m convinced that my sleep goal is the first one I need to tackle after getting my step goal back on track. Not because I think it’ll help me lose weight or gain muscle, but because I know it will impact my ability to meet all the other goals I’ve set. I need to set myself up for success and getting enough sleep is the first step.

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