This week’s challenge…

This week has been different that’s for sure. This post will be quite long, and honest, so be prepared. 🙂 Someone recently said to me that she liked my blog as I sometimes say things that most people wouldn’t say, and I think this post might be one of them.

(Any tips you have would be welcome in the comments, I’ll take all the help I can get!)

So here goes:

THIS WEEK’S TRAINING
I started back to my training, and also went back to work, and have done the following:

Mon: PM Strength: Squat based 45 mins
Tue: Lunchtime run: 7.5M speed work, mile splits. PM: 4.1M
Wed: Rest day
Thu: AM: 10M easy run

My legs were remarkably sore after strength on Monday (I knew they would be, first time back to strength for ages). Not so much on the Tuesday, but certainly on the Wednesday, Thursday. So I took a rest say on the Wednesday (after a lot of running on Tuesday). And then felt ok for an easy long run on Thursday.

(I had planned to do my Monday’s strength in the morning, but lack of sleep meant I chose to stay in bed instead and did it in the evening).

I was going to go for a swim this morning, but for reasons below, I’m just going to get up early and go to work (early too), and look forward to a good weekend. Social strength and run then coffees and lunch with Fit Girl on Saturday, and run and coaching on Sunday. 😀

MY CURRENT CHALLENGE
The one thing that I’m challenged with at the moment is SLEEP. I’ve been challenged with it since I went back to work. So for 5 days now

When I was on leave, I was getting a luxurious 8-9 hours sleep a night. 🙂
No alarm, my body slept as long as it wanted. It was amazing.

Now since Sunday night / Monday AM, I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night (2-4am) and I’m unable to get back to sleep. I’ve had this before, and the longer it gives on the more I tend to be affected by it, so I’m always really keen to sort it.

I had 3 days of 5 hours of sleep, sun, mon, tues. The reason I can’t get back to sleep is the hundreds of thoughts that come into my mind. A while back I would have described them as worries, but I don’t tend to get worried about things anymore. I don’t see the point.

I just have thoughts, lots of them and I can’t seem to turn them off or shut my brain up.
It’s more frustrating than anything else. My thoughts just now are about work. :-/ one thing pops into my head, then another and another, and before you know it, it’s been 3 hours since I was sleeping.

I don’t particularly feel stressed, it’s just my thoughts are so many, and I think I’m passionate about what I’m doing, so they come into my head and I think about them (and probably over think about them too!)

So after 3 nights of limited sleep I spoke to my boss about it. This usually alleviates it as we both know that I’m up against it, or she helps me out with my many workloads. On Wednesday night, I thought our chat would have helped, but apparently not. I still woke at 3am and couldn’t sleep. :-/

Sometimes when I talk about it, or even wrote about it, it helps. So perhaps this post might even help. 😉 i know I can do this, it’s just a bit challenging at times!

On Thursday morning after waking at 3am, I ended up getting up at just before 5am, and just went out for a long run. Still conscious my legs were a little sore, it still felt good. Nice and easy, sometimes running with my music on, sometimes off. Running on sore legs and able to keep going over 10 miles. I thought I’d tire myself out for the next night.

COPING STRATEGIES TO HELP WITH SLEEP
I’ve experienced insomnia like this before, so I have many strategies to help deal with it. Anything you can suggest, you can bet I’ve tried it. Sometimes the strategies work, sometimes I just accept that I’ve had less sleep than normal and tell myself it’s ok, the day will be ok.

I used to get a bit emotional or upset when I couldn’t sleep, now I’m just very logical and trying to find ways to sort it. 😦

There are many here on the NHS website which are helpful (most of which I do!):

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Insomnia/Pages/Prevention.aspx
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/insomnia/Pages/bedtimeritual.aspx

So here’s what I do when I wake up (or can’t sleep):

– Think of other things, happy times, relax.
– Go for a walk in my mind (sunny day).
– Relax, be aware of my whole body, forget my thoughts.
– Listen to an audio book.

Then if I still can’t sleep hours after waking:

– Get up and write down thoughts or
– Get up and do something productive (like go for an easy run or write a blog to get my thoughts out).

IMPACT OF NOT SLEEPING

The way that lack of sleep affects me is that I become less focused, and more easily distracted.

I used to get emotional, but I seem to have got to grips with it now and have become more logistical, thinking about ways to deal with how I feel and what I need to do, as opposed to getting anxious or worried.

So for an example of my distraction, I might have a big and important task do that day, but instead I spend my time doing the small stuff, or the stuff I LIKE to do: the creative stuff. Or I nurse my emails and tick them off one by one. Then before I know it, time has ticked by and there’s no time left to do the big task. So it rolls over into the next day. Eeek!

At work I maybe have about 10 of these big tasks to do, plus the every day things I need to do, so if I can’t be focused to get on with them, it all snowballs.

Another way I get distracted is that I’m so busy, I sometimes forget to eat. And if I’ve trained, or run 10 miles that day (or even if I haven’t), this can’t happen! My strategy for dealing with that is to prep my food and take it with me so it’s always on hand and to schedule reminders to eat and take breaks.

One thing lack of sleep does to me, which really annoys me, is that it messes with my plans for my training. If I’ve planned to get up for 630 to do a training session, but then if I only get 4 or 5 hours sleep, it seems more sense to try to lie in until I’d usually finish training (730am) – and skip the training session. But it’s always a decision I have to make and it’s hard to know which decision is right. Sometimes I lie there awake, thinking, I should just be up training instead!

The result is my planned training usually doesn’t happen and I take a rest day, or I do the training at night, which can maybe affect my sleep: viscous circle. I don’t tend to feel guilty if I miss a workout. It is a bit annoying, but there’s a point where sleep becomes the most important thing, and training needs to take a back seat. It’s not the end of the world.

And not to mention the fact that me waking up, tossing and turning then wakes up Fit a Girl so her sleep is affected too. Arrrrg!

NEXT STEPS

I hate to be a drama, and like to be in control and doing everything I can to help myself. So on Thursday morning I went to my GP – more to check that everything I was doing and planning was right and would help.

Yesterday I told my GP all of the things I was doing / planning on doing to take control of thus and hopefully go back to being asleep at 10pm, awake at 6am = 8 hours sleep. She agreed with me, and said if it didn’t work to come back to her. Hopefully I won’t need to. 🙂

What I need to stop doing:

– Stop over thinking / analysing things.

– Worrying about or over thinking not sleeping, or how many hours sleep I’ve had.

– Logging stuff in MyFitnessPal (using too much thought processes unnecessarily).

– Checking phone / iPad so much – do only at breakfast, at lunch and after dinner.

– Exercise at night. (Odd short or easy social session).

– Caffeine after lunchtime.

– Allowing myself to become distracted.

What I need to start doing:

– Be conscious of being present and social.

– Reduce online activity, especially Facebook.

– Put phone / iPad away by 8pm.

– Wind down without technology between 8pm and 10pm.

– Aim to get 7-8 hours sleep.

– Eat regularly and take time out / breaks from work.

– Give my brain a rest.

– Go for short walks.

– Eat regularly and drink plenty water.

– Exercise in the morning (if sleep ok).

– Be careful not to over train / take rest.

– Write down 3 ‘most important tasks’ each day and focus on and do them (plus others).

– Smile, plan, prioritise, be productive, help others and be happy.

I thought going to the GP and all of the things I did last yesterday and night (10 mile run, phone away, relax, wind down, hot drink, no technology) would have sorted me. I got a good early night, in bed for 9, tired, fell asleep (great!). Then at around 3 or 4 I woke up, and surprise surprise I couldn’t get back to sleep.

So I got an improved 6 – 7 hours sleep, but still woke up early unable to get back to sleep. I was wide awake, so just got up to write this. Fingers crossed I can get on top of this and own it. 🙂

Today is going to be a great day, starting … Now! 🙂

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