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Circadian cleanup

There are some things I am not very good at. Tops on that list is getting to bed at a decent hour. Last Wednesday morning, after getting my 8 hours of shuteye, I woke up and looked at the clock.

10am

Gaaah. 

"What are you, a cocktail waitress?" I thought to myself as I got of out bed.

Right then and there (give or take a day or so) I decided this has to change. 

But how to get myself to bed earlier? The answer was on my left arm -- my Fitbit. I set the vibrating alarm to 7:30 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays (I already was getting up at 6:40 on Fridays to get my kid to school, and weekends I"m leaving as a free for all). That way, if I wanted my precious 8 hours of sleep, I'd have to get to bed earlier or my left arm would be vibrating me awake. 

Today was the first official day, and while I STILL went to bed a bit too late, I got a solid 7 hours of sleep. 

(This, pals, is one of the issues of workiing from home -- you can set your own hours, and my hours were ridiculous.) 

While I was getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep, those hours were coming too late in a normal human's sleep cycle, and that could be one of the things slowing my progress.

It's called circadian disruption:

Changes in the body’s clock and lack of sleep may cause the body to conserve energy when it isn’t necessary. Those who don’t get enough sleep also don’t exercise, eat more and eat more inappropriate foods, researchers said.

ZOMG.

(Here's another abstract that explains circadian rhythms on your "gut clock." SCIENCE!)

The exercise isn't true in my case but the inappropriate foods? Holy leftovers, Batman.

I've been practicing getting to bed earlier for a few days, and waddya know! Those same 7 to 8 hours, pushed a few hours earlier, are making a huge difference. I wake up more refreshed and rarin' to go. I also feel more energetic and alert during the day and I actually get sleepy at night. 

Not gonna lie -- one of the first nights was brutal. I think I was fighting with my circadian rhythm. I tossed and turned all night and the most random things bothered the heck out of me:

  • My feet are freezing!
  • My head's sweating!
  • My thumb hurts!
  • My hips hurt!

(And yeah, I realize that I am 52, so there may be other hormonal wackiness involved.)

I woke up Friday morning feeling like a zombie and after dropping the kid off at school, went to the gym, where I was Not. In. The. Mood.

But I did it anyway and felt a lot better afterward.

I think I might be over the hump on this sleep thing, but if anyone catches me yammering on Facebook or live tweeting extra-inning West Coast baseball, please call me out!

 

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