Further wearying the weary
January 4, 2011 8:32 AM Subscribe
In my ongoing quest to fix my messed-up sleep schedule, I was going to try a little exercise. How much is enough?
posted by EmpressCallipygos to health & fitness (17 answers total)
Things started going screwy back in July when I was dealing with some extra stress (a shifting work schedule and then the decline and death of a pet) and I haven't quite been able to recover. I used to have a gym membership, but cancelled it because I wasn't using it and needed the money too badly; my work schedule for the past year has had me getting up about an hour before my usual cicadian rhythm, and also got me home an hour later than usual, and by the time I got home I was too tired to think about making it to the gym -- especially when I was coping with my cat -- and so I cancelled it.
My cat died in August, but I still have the different work schedule, and I haven't quite been able to get back on top of a steady sleep schedule yet; I'll have trouble falling to sleep before midnight one night (which gives me only 6 hours of sleep), I'll wake up at 2 am and lie awake another hour another night, I'll wake up 2 hours before my alarm another morning...it's kind of all over the place. I've had only limited success with things like valerian, melatonin, or Benadryl -- they'll work fine one night, but then not work the next time I try.
It was something about the Benadryl last night that prompted me to try the exercise again. I GOT to sleep fine at 10:30 or 11, but then suddenly at 1 am I woke up feeling a strange sort of "I want to be awake and doing things" restlessness. (at the same time as the Benadryl was putting me in "I'm woozy and loopy" mode; that was pretty unpleasant.) I was thinking that weird 1 am attack was more a sign I just had energy to burn off, and THAT'S what's been waking me up or keeping me from falling asleep.
But I'm so mentally exhausted I don't want to push it, especially since I haven't been back to the gym in about a year; so I wanted to work my way back into it. I was thinking something as simple as a quick jog to my local park and back when I got home from work each night for the next few weeks (by that time, I'll also hopefully have a work schedule that is closer to my own natural pattern). If I do that, that'd be about a mile and a half jog each night.
The question is: would that be enough, if all I'm trying to do is wear myself out so I can get some sleep? Once I'm more rested I'll join my gym and resume the exercise I was doing, but I don't think jumping straight back into it would work if I'm still this sleep-deprived, so first and foremost is just fixing the sleep thing. Would a mile-and-a-half-or-so daily jog be enough for that purpose, especially since I'm already not quite firing on all cylinders anyway? I can also supplement/alter that with a donation-basis yoga class near me once a week.
Advise, please. thanks.