Happy almost-Friday! One more day until it’s another 3-day weekend for me, and this week can’t be dragging long enough.
I had a good time reading through your favorite childhood books in response to my last post. I had completely forgotten about some of those, so it was a nice trip down Nostalgia Lane :)
Yesterday was freezing cold. During fall, winter, and spring in Colorado, it’s hard to get used to a temperature because it’s ALWAYS changing. It had been in the high 50’s-60’s for about a week, and then a snow storm came pouring in. I bundled up as best I could and willed myself to get accustomed to the coldness.
Thankfully, it stopped snowing in the afternoon, and temps should be returning to the 50’s for the weekend (yayyy). Due to the cold though, I didn’t feel like going outside at all yesterday once I got home. So, I stayed at home and did an hour of Zumba on my Wii, followed by a solid 15 minutes of stretching.
After eating dinner, helping my roommate clean up the kitchen, and taking a long (very hot) shower, I curled into bed with a book to call it an early night. For good reason, too: I’ve been extremely sleep-deprived since Saturday night.
Maybe I’m subconsciously really stressed about work, but I’ve been having a hard time sleeping since the weekend. I either can’t stay asleep for more than an hour or two at a time, or I just lay in bed until well past midnight even if I get to bed on time. This wouldn’t be as big of a deal if I didn’t have to wake up at 5:30am to get to work on time. I think I’ve been averaging 5 hours of sleep a night. I have no trouble falling asleep in my car during my lunch breaks to keep myself from passing out on my desk though.
I think the issue is that I have a more difficult time falling asleep when I’m very tired. Even though I’m so exhausted, I just lay in bed and can’t sleep. The next night is usually more difficult because my sleepiness is compounded by my continued lack of sleep from the nights before, and I start getting anxious at bedtime wondering if I’ll be able to sleep that night.
So, where am I going with this? In addition to being necessary for everyday functionality, sleep is extremely vital for obtaining and maintaining your fitness and health goals.
Don’t believe me? Check out this article from the Huffington Post (I know it’s not a health site, but there are tons of studies out there. I was just too lazy to search for a different one.) According to the article, sleep affects hormones tied to appetite. People who slept less than seven to eight hours a night often experienced weight gain, and those who slept less than that amount weighed more than those who slept a greater amount.
This is the side effect I’ve been experiencing the most. I’m not in maintenance mode yet, so I still weigh myself about three times a week. Since Saturday, I’ve gained a whopping six lbs. I’m only 5’3″, so that’s a decent chunk of change for weight gain. I’ve been eating mindlessly and in much larger portions than I usually do. I also have been drinking less water, inhaling way more coffee, and consuming more sweet treats (I normally don’t have a big sweet tooth).
In addition to the weight gain, my lack of sleep has left me feeling sluggish during workouts and has greatly increased my recovery time between them. I attribute this to the fact that your body rebuilds from tough workouts while you rest, sleep in particular. The same article states that our growth hormones responsible for tissue repair, body fat reduction, and healthy immune function are released during sleep. With less and less sleep, my body isn’t being given the time to restore worked muscles, replenish energy stores, and all of that other good stuff that I need to hit an intense workout. (Also probably why I got that head cold.)
Being that this blog documents my trials and errors during my time of weight loss, hopefully this information can be helpful to some of you out there on the same journey as me. It doesn’t matter where in your journey you are, make sure you get a good night’s rest. Healthy eating and exercise will be easier to do, and you’ll feel more alert as well. I finally got 8 full hours of sleep last night, and what a difference! I still have some sleep catch-up to do, but I’m already feeling better, and the lingering aches from my past workouts are already dulled down.
Anyway, my lunch time is up, and I’ve gotta tackle a lot of issues before heading home for a 6 mile speed workout and (maybe) a BodyPump class if I’m up for it. I hope that the short remainder of your week is a good one!
Question of the Day: How many hours of sleep do you need to feel energized and prepared for the day? Has the lack thereof ever interfered with your weight loss or fitness goals and how so? I need between 7.5-9 hours to feel good. Yeah, I’m a bear.