Monday, 13 September 2010


I identified sleep as maybe one of the more unusual members of my Giving it Everything September weight loss list. Part of this is down to my adrenal gland issues and the recommendations that sleep is vital in coaxing fatigued adrenals back to life. And a part is the observed correlation in weight loss research between sleep and weight loss.

My "usual" sleep pattern has been as follows:
  • Fall asleep on the sofa with the TV and lights on at about 10.30pm
  • Sleep fitfully and badly until somewhere between 2am and 4am (and on rare occasions until 6 or 7 am; I once saw a World Series Baseball game after such a night, the year the RedSox won it - we have friends in Boston and count ourselves as mini-fans)
  • Peel the contact lenses from my eyes and get into bed
  • Lie awake for anything between 30 mins and the rest of the night
  • Sometimes get a few hours until the alarm shakes me back to life

This pattern is years old. And it has to change. I have had some success over the last week or two. Hotel nights I have been pretty good about hitting the TV off button at around 11pm and just going to bed. I've even found myself waking up between 6 and 7am before the alarm. And I do think it's making a difference, energy wise. The problem is I haven't completely cracked it yet.

Weekends are again a problem, it seems. Friday nights after travelling home I am so tired that I often fall back into the bad sleep pattern outlined above; although kicked off by not just going to bed anyway. Saturday I want to stay up and watch the football (soccer) highlights of the Premier League, always fall asleep during them and fall back into the pattern. Sundays I'm better about going to bed, but only because I know I have to get up Monday at 4am to start the weekly journey cycle back to Belgium. So even when I'm great during the week, 3 nights out of 7 I'm terrible.

Last week I came home on Thursday but had to get up at 4.30am on Friday to go to the UK office...folllowed by a similar Friday and Saturday night. Lying awake at 2am last night after just getting to bed, I considered why this was.

  1. I miss the tell-tale signal that my body always gives me, indicating the last chance to go to bed before I fall asleep on the sofa. There's always one - the head-nod, often seen on trains with worn-out commuters succumbing to the movement and sound, the eyes drooping, Mrs Moose saying "why don't you go to bed?". Something is always there. When the trigger is obeyed, no problem; when ignored, hello sore eyes, bad sleep and a another step back on the road to adrenal recovery. I liken this to ignoring the trigger to stop eating when you're full. Sometimes the trigger happens and I remain blissfully unaware, because I don't even stop to think how hungry I am on the 1 to 10 scale during a meal. Sometimes I do stop and think...Saturday night we were out for a meal as a family. We had shared small starters between us, my main was delicious and a reasonably healthy pasta dish. After finishing it, I did pause to consider my hunger level. About a 4. So I will treat myself to dessert. When the lemon torte arrived however, I just marched straight through it all. 3 bites would have been sufficient for me to hit about 2 on the scale, and stop. But I waded right on through...
  2. My mattress is now over 15 years old. Designed for up to 100kgs, it has taken a battering over those years. Much of that time I have exceeded that weight limit. And 15 years is, according to all experts, too long. The impact is that my back nearly always aches in the mornings after a night in my bed. Not in a hotel, but my own bed in my own home. I believe the lack of desire for this ache is a contributory factor in stopping me going to bed. Strangely, my back doesn't hurt after a night on the sofa. So I resolved in the middle of the night to get a new mattress. Another thing to add to the Giving it Everything list.

I am known as someone who likes to sleep. And I do. So I am going to give it everything and sleep my way to weight loss. As long as I blog about it, it's bound to be successful...

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