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the main ingredient in the recipe for weight loss

Monday, April 30, 2012

has to be sleep, right? emoticon Sweet, precious, healing, rejuvenating sleep. Elusive (for me, and many others) sleep. I feel like no one should even attempt to make a serious run at weight loss/fitness gain until they are rested. Before I began my committment to SP and a slow and steady change in lifestyle last January, I focused on getting as much sleep as I could. I have maintained this effort by going to bed (95% of the time) at a decent hour, and getting up early. I have tried different combinations to assist me in my quest for sleep - right now it includes melatonin. Once upon a time, for a brief time, I used a prescription sleep aid until the insurance company decided it would no longer cover it, and I decided I was not going to spend $300.00 per month on it. I am not going to lie - when I called the insurance company and they told me they had discontinued coverage of prescription sleep aids, I let myself have a tiny little cry emoticon. Ultimately, I was fine because I had no desire to develop a strong dependency on any prescription drug, but for a person who struggles to sleep, finding something that actually helps give 5 or 6 hours of unbroken sleep, giving it up is sort of hard. Last night, I went to bed at 9:30pm, by 1:30am I was wide awake and the battle was on. I slept off and on and when it was time to get up at 5am for my 5:45am workout date with friends, I went into wimpy mode and did not go. I slept fitfully until 7:30am. All day I had low energy, very little motivation, and made less-than-great choices in food and beverages. I did not eat or drink anything completely void of nutrition, and I did not eat or drink large quantities, but I also didn't do myself any particular favors, either. I know very well that when my body does not get enough sleep, it goes into search mode for alternate forms of quick energy i.e. simple carbs, especially sugar, and caffiene. This, of course, backfires by ultimately making me even more tired while being kind of wired - not a nice combination. I can guarantee you, based on loads of past experience, I would have had a much better day had I bit the bullet and exercised. I don't think constantly shortchanging sleep (especially not on purpose) in favor of exercising is a good plan, but sometimes it is just the thing to help turn around the vicious cycle of "didn't sleep well so didn't exercise so had very little energy so turned to sugar and caffiene so now I can't sleep well". I can tell you that tonight, I will go to bed at a decent hour and, despite the amount of sleep, or lack thereof, I will be keeping my exercise date(s) tomorrow, and I will be tending to my responsibilities, and I will be mindful of eating more protein (and less starch), drinking more water (and avoiding caffiene because I don't drink coffee anyway, so it's not as hard for me). As we all know, choices are like dominos - one leads to another and another and another, beginning with the very first choice of the day: get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, and take my heart for a spin first thing. Because, in the recipe for less excess weight and greater health, sleep may be the first ingredient and nutritious food may be the second, but exercise is right up there, as well.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You are so right. I have tried melatonin and it does not seem to work for me, but a couple of things that do are Sleepytime Extra Tea (has valerian) and not long ago, I heard about something called Calms Forte, a homeopathic sleep aid (I got some at Walmart) and I think that I like that even better. I don't take something every night, but this helps when I need something.
    2235 days ago
    So true - I slept poorly last night and am really feeling it today. I wish you good sleep emoticon
    2236 days ago
    Oh My Gosh, A big, juicy, AMEN!!!!
    This blog is timely friend. I am on day two of getting off of caffeine yet again because I have been making frozen coffees a daily, sometimes twice daily habit again. Why? because of a few sleepless nights with baby girl. The cycle is vicious. Once I'm wide awake, I'm slow and ditch my responsibilities. It's like I'm wired and useless. Not to mention the binges that follow the crash! Oy. Soooooooo, I'm with you sister and in fact, I'll end here and head off to bed! Great blog as usual!! emoticon
    2237 days ago
    Sleep and Exercise = health for me too and sleep is a long term battle for me as well. I use Valerian blended with herbs that help me to get the rest I need and good old Benadryl. Hope you find a long term recipe that works for you too!!!
    2237 days ago
    Sleep is so important. Before I left home, was taking sleeping pills every night just to get a precious few hours of sleep. My sleep much improved when I got here. I was so happy. I have not been sleeping as well since I moved to my new apartment. I hope I get it back. You don't realize how much you should treasure it until you get it or in good quality.
    2237 days ago
    I also suffer from periodic insomnia and it helps me not to panic: to "normalize" it matter-of-factly and just accept that there will be nights without much sleep.

    Awhile back I wrote a blog about new research supporting this attitude that interrupted sleep is in fact "normal" sleep. Finding that research really helped me too!
    2237 days ago
    I think there are so many of us who suffer from insomnia, either from time to time or on a regular basis. If there is something worrying me strongly and creating anxiety, I can be sure I'll wake up between 3 and 4am, and then go back to sleep at the time when most people get out of bed. I am lucky to work 10 minutes away from home, this is what saves many of my days as I can stay in bed until 8.30am if needed!!!
    But exercise on the morning? It is impossible for me. My body is asleep. I hate moving on the morning. I have tried to push it, but it doesn't perform well at all compared to when I exercise after work... Re-reading all this, I think I am spoilt. Or just single with no children, I suppose. :(
    2237 days ago
    Great topic. It is always a struggle to balance all things and when not sleeping as we would like, balance goes out the window.
    2237 days ago
    I am blessed that I never have a problem going to sleep - in fact, I think I sleep TOO much sometimes. However, I do indeed agree with you on how important sleep is. On those times when I stay up late studying or just didn't sleep well, my entire day is affected - workout, eating, MOOD! Yes, my mood. So whatever it takes, I wish you sweet dreams! emoticon
    2237 days ago
    Melatonin definitely helps me get to sleep, but staying asleep can be elusive. I had one of those nights last night, but I know it started with not going to bed when my body was telling me it was ready. emoticon Since I'm reading your blog "late" I really hope that you've gotten some sleep, and are feeling better.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2237 days ago
    This is a good subject! I have noticed lately that I have been waking up right around, oh, eightish in the morning. I'm not too sure why this is happening because I really am a night person and my body clock doesn't "click" into sleep mode until about midnight. I can't tell if it because of the increase in exercise. I don't actually get to sleep till around 1:00 in the morning but it seems to be enough and I can sleep ok. This has not always been the case, I would get to sleep and then wake up a LOT and take forever to get back to sleep. I'm not too sure if it is no alcohol, I'm pretty sure that has a lot to do with it too. In any case, something is working and that is a good thing! I still don't get up and exercise, I do mine in the evenings...I think it has something to do with the fact that I would rather spit fire at people, places and things in the morning than smile at them....I dunno.... emoticon
    2238 days ago
  • MISSB8604
    Guess I'm screwed. emoticon

    Great blog as always.
    2238 days ago
    There are sooooooo many factors that go into making sleep happen (or not). I found when going through that glorious time of life called perimenopause and menopause (yeah, I know . . . TMI) that my sleep stunk the big bug. It was all hormonal . . . well, double whammied because my thyroid med did the hex on sleep too. UGH.

    I found that making the room dark, NO TV or radio (or at least soothing music, if I listened), white noise and a consistent bedtime even on weekends helped . . . eventually. Those "hot flashes" were my archnemesis. So, I found just keeping an ice pack on my forehead in the "heat of the battle" helped tremendously.

    I also do recommend OTC Melatonin. It takes a bit of experimentation to figure out what's going to work for you, but it's worth it.

    Wishing you good sleep!
    2238 days ago
    Wonderful, dreamy, uninterrupted, sweet, innocent sleep! It eludes me too often as well. I think, no I KNOW that I do the workout anyway, rather than get more sleep, and pay the price later with more coffee and definitely more popcorn than an human being needs in a day. It's like taking two steps forward and one back.
    Ok, I am making a commitment here and now that I will try to flip around my thinking on this topic. I will allow myself to sleep in instead of working out if I feel that I have been particularly robbed of sleep. A key clue to this is when I hit the alarm and want to start whining like a 5 year old, and drag myself around with my bottom lip jutting out.
    Sleep really does so much good for the body, if you can get it.
    I keep saying that I will try melatonin, but am reminded of the wild dreams I had with it a while back. Perhaps I should give it another shot since that wondrous yummy sleep described above is a rare thing.
    Sending you a basket full of restful Zzz's tonight!
    2238 days ago
    You are SO right about the dominoes, and I know that sequence well...
    I read somewhere that everyone tends to wake up after 4 hours of sleep, it's just a question of how awake you come and whether you then can fall back asleep. This has made me feel more normal about my "four-hour" syndrome and therefore not struggle quite as much when it happens. Not to say I don't struggle sometimes but that usually correlates to some un-faced issue or something I am dreading in the day(s) to come.
    I think you're right that it's best to just get up and do whatever, rather than lying there fruitlessly. Sometimes I then can catch a nap later and manage to function fairly well for the rest of the day.
    2238 days ago
    I am off to water aerobics this a.m.! emoticon
    2238 days ago
  • DEE0973
    My love, I wish you more restful nights on a consistent basis. You are right in decide to get your exercise in anyway, which will help in your food/drink choices throughout the day.
    2238 days ago
    I swear, it is uncanny (pun intended) how alike we are. Seriously? We go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time? I went to bed at 9:30 pm and at 1:30 am I was wide awake.

    I, too, am thinking about taking Melatonin. I used to give it to Kina to wind her down in the eves. Currently, taking my Zoloft before bed instead of during the day seems to do the trick. But last night I forgot. Hence, the 1:30 am wake-up. Hopefully, I can exchange the Zoloft for Melatonin once I get a grasp on my anxiety. One thing at a time.

    Here's to more emoticon .
    2238 days ago
  • DOODIE59
    As a bad sleeper, I have no advice for you.

    I do heartily congratulate you on coming to the decision to start the day with exercise whether or NOT you've had a good sleep. That will get your day "back on the rails" instead of continuing to veer off track. And perhaps that exercise will be what gets you back to sleep that night:) I have a friend with sleep and stress disorders and she has become rabid about going to bed at the same time each night -- she leaves in the middle of book club for bed time:) For some brains, structure and routine is crucial for positive patterning to take place.

    Sweet dreams:)
    Deirdre emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2238 days ago
  • DAISY443
    Good luck with improving your sleep habits. I would do much better if my cat didn't come and sit on me an purr loudly at 3:00 am every day!
    2238 days ago
    Great blog addressing something that needs to be adressed! I am blessed with a really good sleep, but I have started to wake up at five in the mornings regardless of when I got to sleep so not to get sleep deprivated I have to go to bed at a decent time...

    Sleep, enough movement and decentnutrition are the three ground stones for me, with them in place I can start building the person I want to be...
    2238 days ago
  • OOLALA53
    Oh, I hear ya. I've had the early shift at school this year and I have never gotten used to it. I never know if I am actually going to sleep the night. If I don't' and then I fall asleep near the time I have to get up, I do not get up early to work out. More power to you if you do, but I'm going to sleep!

    Been listening to the audiobook of My Stroke of Insight, about a neuroscientist who had a stroke and wrote a book about her 8 years of recovery. She emphasizes how sleep is important for recovery from even good stress. Now I'll go do some grading so I can get some sleep.
    2239 days ago
    I too have a problem sleeping. I can fall asleep, it's staying asleep that is the problem. Now I use otc sleeping pills and I never get less then 6 hours and sometimes as much as 8 1/2 hours every night. Generally I average around 7 to 7 1/2. But, we are retired now and it doesn't matter to me what time I go to bed or get up. Good luck to you in conquering your sleeping habits.
    2239 days ago
    Your blog could have been written by me. This is just about like my night was last night. I turned the light off by 10:25 PM, fell asleep, soundly, and then woke up before midnight and couldn't get back to sleep. I dosed off again around 3:30 AM, again around 5:00 AM and by 6:00 AM, it was time to get up. I felled groggy all day long. What has helped me in the past, but I don't want to make a habit of it, is taking a couple of Ipubrofen, especially if I hurt from working out too much, or am not feeling well because of a cold, or whatever. So, tonight, it will be Ipubrofen night, and I hope I get a few more hours of sleep.
    I hope you can join me. emoticon
    2239 days ago
    I wish you luck! I am a champ sleeper, so on the rare occasions when I don't sleep well, I try to keep calm and listen to the BBC on the radio. Sometimes the sound of voices talking softly in British accents actually lulls me to sleep.
    2239 days ago
    Dr. Oz claims that sleep deprivation is the country's biggest health (& weight loss) problem. He has some suggestions although you may already be following them.

    As always I can't remember all the details, but I remember the main points:
    Using a computer or TV or other techy tool cause some kind of hormonal change which interferes with sleep. He advices turning off all those items at least an hour before going to bed. Longer would be better.

    Use the bedroom only for sleep & sex. No treadmill (even if it's just where you hang your clothes), no clutter, just a restful place where your body knows it's time to go to sleep.

    If you can't sleep, rather than fighting it, get up and read (not a murder mystery) for a short time, then try again. Fighting it just makes it worse.

    I've read that eating within an hour or s2before bedtime causes your metabolism to crank up and can interfere w/ sleep.

    I'm really sorry you have this issue. I'm lucky that I'm asleep before my head hits the pillow. Hope you get a really good rest tonight! emoticon
    2239 days ago
    Well you know whatcha gotta do then. Hopefully tonight will be a better rest and when you get up at 5:30 tomorrow...please be quiet, don't wake me up! Lol
    2239 days ago
    I'm reading this at 4am because I can't sleep tonight! I'm sure it's temporary but I will heed your warning and watch carefully the carb cravings.
    Hope we both sleep well tomorrow!
    2239 days ago
    Sleep- it's always a challenge to get enough! Here's wishing you a great night's sleep :-)
    2239 days ago
    Ah, the elusive triad! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2239 days ago
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