Getting Lorn to Sleep!

I’ve written about sleep before:

And about how sometimes you ping wide awake and can’t get back to sleep:

I thought I’d share a bit about why I think it happens sometimes. Why I either lie awake for an hour or more, then I eventually drop off to sleep, only to wake a few hours later, thoughts buzzing. And how I deal with it.

There are a few reasons this happens to me:

1. Thoughts overload (being busy at work and in life, with lots to think about).

2. Exercising at night.

3. Exercising for long durations (pushing my body to the limit).

4. Caffeine
(luckily I don’t drink alcohol so that doesn’t affect me, but I’m sure it would if I did).

What it feels like when I can’t sleep:
Heart pumping, mind racing, unable to stop thinking.

What I’m conscious of doing:
Finding ways to manage and get my all important sleep. 🙂

Sleep is really important
There comes a point where I have to take responsibility and say to myself, ‘no, you’re not doing what you want to do, you are going to sleep!’

1. Thoughts overload

Ping! Wide awake, I fight the urge to get up to write down my ideas. I try to turn my thoughts off. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I lie for hours, eventually getting up.

Sometimes I can’t stop the thoughts, sometimes I think it’s better to just get up and get it out of my system: write it down, blog it. The next day I try to rest and relax as much as I can. Sometimes thinking happy thoughts to block out the racing thoughts works.

How I deal with it:
1. Relax, breathe, think happy thoughts.
2. Stop any thoughts about work etc.
3. Think about other things: happy times or I imagine me going on a relaxing slow walk somewhere.

2. Exercising at night.

I’m lucky that I get such a buzz from exercising, but it’s not good getting so buzzed up an hour or two before I go to bed. Hormones racing, heart rate elevated, endorphins flying.

How I deal with it:
1. I do the majority exercise first thing in the morning which sets me up for the day. I need an early night to get up for 6-630am.
2. I try to limit or avoid exercising at night.
3. When I do train or coach at night, I try to relax after it, and limit any creative urges I get (and park ideas).

3. Exercising for long durations (pushing my body to the limit).

I’ve written about my ‘Secret Addiction’ before:
where it seems, the very thing I love, running long, might have the possibility of making me sick.

Running long is amazing and can be so good for you in do many ways. But it can also be very very demanding on your body and brain. I’ve seen myself lying awake, body throbbing all over after a long run, long race or marathon. Rest and Recovery should never be underestimated. Sleep is your friend for both physical and mental health.

How I deal with it:
1. I’m aware of what might happen after a long run and plan to rest, recover and repair. (No guilt!)
2. I take long periods of non specific training / rest time after events.
3. I listen to my body and rest when I can: naps, sleep, easy runs, less intense exercise, swimming, walking, social exercising.

4. Caffeine

I used to only really consume caffeine for long runs or events, in the form of energy gels. Booooom – what a boost it’s give me (probably more mental than physical, but it seemed to work). Now I have a coffee maker, and frequent coffee shops regularly to spend time with Fit Girl and wind down.

How I deal with it:
1. I generally avoid caffeine after 2pm.
2. I drink caffeine in the morning: coffee at breakfast and mocha milkshake at mid morning.
3. I’m conscious of what caffeine does to me and am careful to limit it to 2 coffees a day.

And what happens if I can’t sleep? What happens if I get up and blog, or write things down?
What happens if I get up for 2 hours and reduce my sleep to 4 or 5 hours?

How I deal with it:
1. Accept it for what it is and move on positively: (I got 5 hours sleep, but I’m ok and I’m going to have a good day).
2. Make an effort to not over do if and relax more the following day.
3. Make an effort to get to bed earlier or on time the next night, and get back into a good sleep routine.

. . .

Now, the birds are singing, I’m up in 2 hours and I’d better get back to bed! :-O

Ps: what is it that woke me tonight: a mixture of two things: running at night and lots of thoughts about work. Must do better!

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