Tag Archives: sleep

I’m a Lark

6 Mar

You guys,  I know I said I’d go to yoga last night. But I got home from work, and it was pouring down rain, and after I cooked dinner it was dark, and well….

Picture1

I put on my rain boots, grabbed my umbrella and hoofed it to the gym! Hooray! Did I trick you? I did have the thoughts of skipping it because of the rain, but I knew, even if I did try to do a yoga DVD at home, I’d probably skip out on it early. So I sucked it up and went. I’m glad I did!

This is going to be a super quick post today — work is crazy busy, so I need to hop to it, but I wanted to share this article I read yesterday:

I read this article, The Science of Sleep by Elizabeth Kobert on The New Yorker site yesterday and found it very interesting. The beginning of the article goes over the discovery of REM sleep by Nathaniel Kleitman, and how his discovery has opened the door for intensive sleep research. As Kolbert mentions, a 2011 poll indicates that more than half of all Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 experience sleep problems every night! That’s crazy! She also mentions two other alarming statistics:

  • A CDC study revealed that almost 5% of adults acknowledge nodding off behind the wheel at least once during the past month
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation report says that DWD (Driving While Drowsy) causes forty-thousand injuries a year (and more than 1,500 deaths!)

…and that’s not even to mention the toll your body takes from repeated lack of sleep! It’s clear that adequate sleep is extremely important.

Here’s where the article got really interesting for me. Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer, author or a recent book “The Slumbering Masses” and an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of California Santa Cruz, suggests that going to bed at 11:00 PM and waking at 7:00 AM (sleeping “in a consolidated fashion”, is what he calls it, or the typical to bed and rise time for most Americans), probably isn’t the best schedule for everyone. In fact, he says, about 150 years ago, Americans slept in a much different fashion — going to bed shortly after the sun went down, then awoke for a while, and then went back to bed.

The most eye-opening part of the article, however, was the discussion about a book by Till Roenneberg, professor of medical psychology at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich entitled “Internal Time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag and Why You’re So Tired” — Roenneberg suggests that each person has an internal clock (chronotype) which dictates your inclination to sleep: You either are inclined to go to bed early and wake at dawn (larks) or you like to stay up late and get up later (owls).

This really struck a chord with me! Especially when they talk about the inclination of a lark to wake up early, no matter how late they’ve gone to bed, “… But, even when larks have partied until 3 AM, they can’t sleep in the following day — they’re larks.” That is so me! 

Then I got to this part and almost jumped out of my seat because of the simplicity of it all, “According to Roenneberg, age also has a big influence on chronotype. Toddlers tend to be larks, which is why they drive their parents crazy by getting up at sunrise. Teen-agers are owls, which is why high schools are filled with students who look (and act) like zombies” — does this mean I’ll be a great parent to a toddler, since I’m a lark!?

So after searching on the web some more about this, I came across this article on the New York Times blog. Tara Parker-Pope gives owls that hope to be larks a little help: She gives you a plan to “become a morning person”. The other great thing about this article is the quiz to determine if you’re a lark or an owl. I think it’s pretty easy to determine what you are without a quiz, but who doesn’t love a good quiz? To my complete and total lack of surprise, I got “Extreme Lark”:

my results

..and to further prove my point, here is a picture of me sleeping at a party. Lark, indeed:

...I don't even care. When it's time to sleep, it's time to sleep.

…I don’t even care. When it’s time to sleep, it’s time to sleep.

Question of the Day:
Are you a lark or an owl? 

Worrywart

11 Jan

I’m a worrywart:

worrywart

 

I worry about everything, and everyone, pretty much constantly. Usually, it doesn’t really interfere with my life, but sometimes things get a little out of control.

For the past few nights, my worrying has gotten out of control. I know that I sometimes have anxiety issues, and right now I’m trying to get things under control, because at the moment I have a huge knot in the pit of my stomach that won’t go away.

I’m not sure what triggers these bouts of extreme worry and anxiety, but I can tell you that it isn’t fun for anyone. Especially me. I’m constantly on the verge of tears and I’m very, very hard on myself. After not sleeping very well on Wednesday night, I was exhausted last night and I was sure I would fall right asleep. Not so much. Every time I drifted off, my anxiety woke me up and I started panicking. Thinking about things I need to get done, about bad things that could possibly happen, and worst of all: things that I’ve done poorly in the past. I know in my rational mind that focusing on these things isn’t helpful, but I somehow can’t stop it.

The reason I’m writing about this isn’t to get sympathy, but I need an outlet. If I try to discuss these issues with my loved ones, I end up feeling like I’m bothering them (I’m not, I know, but I still feel that way), or realizing how ridiculous I sound. Here I feel like I can let go because if you don’t want to read this, you don’t have to.

So, how can I handle these issues?

Well, I’m not sure, but I’m going to try reminding myself that my rational mind is the one that’s right, and my irrational mind is wrong.

As an effort to make myself happier, here are some things that make me happy.

IMAG0990Holy cow it’s a beautiful day today. I went outside this morning to take out the trash and it was already in the 50’s! Before 8 AM! In January! Zach didn’t wear a coat at all to work, and I just wore a light one. I took the above picture from my office at work (yes, I’m grateful to have those huge windows right outside my office door), the sky was just lovely. I guess there is some rain in the forecast, but I’m happy enough about the warm weather that I don’t really care.

IMG_0361

Friends! This photo was taken at my friend Mandee’s birthday dinner on Wednesday. I had a great time, but I’m anxious to spend more time with these folks this weekend. I’m already texting people seeing what their plans are tonight. I think some hangouts with friends would really take my mind off of some things.

run

 

Running. Since I’ve started running again without pain, I’ve been anxious to do more running. This unseasonably warm weather is making me anxious to get out there and pound the pavement! I think I might take Courtney’s doberman Margot on her first run tomorrow morning. That should be fun!

IMG_0362

 

Pizza! I don’t know if I’ll be eating any pizza this weekend, but this pizza I had on Wednesday sure was delicious.

See? I’m feeling better already 🙂

 

 

I Just Want to Run!!

15 Nov

Yesterday, I got this email in my inbox:

 

…and the longing began. I had originally planned to sign up for the Turkey Trot after I finished the half-marathon, but then I injured myself in mile 8 of my half. Obviously, on Monday, when I was barely able to walk, I had written the run off completely. But now, after a few days of rest, my legs feel fine, so I’m seriously considering signing up for the race. I love Turkey Trots! Two years ago, after I finished my first half marathon, I ran the Turkey Trot and got my best 5k time ever. Also, today is payday, so I’m itching to pull out the old credit card and sign up. Let me know if you think I should do it or not in the comments below.

Today was Day 3 of Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Trainer:

 

I was definitely out of my comfort zone today, because instead of just going upstairs to use the Nautilus machines, I stayed down in the weight room and used the machines that you have to add your own plates to. I even had to ask the guy who was working at the gym to show me how to use some  of them. This is something I would have never done before. Usually I just stick to what I know, or just wait until someone else uses a machine so I can see how they do it.

Ok, so I looked ahead a bit in the plan, and after tomorrow I have 3 rest days!? In a row! I don’t know if I can go three whole days without working out. I know I’ve committed to this program, but I might be sneaking in a little something something during those three days. The dance DVD’s I won from Cait Plus Ate are calling to me, and to be honest, I really want to try running. Jamie is very clear that you are to do no cardio for 4 weeks, but I honestly don’t think I can follow that to a T. Running and working out to DVD’s is fun to me, and I can’t imagine just not doing anything at all for 3 days. We’ll see how it goes.

One more quick update! I’ve been sleeping amazingly well the past couple of weeks. My secret? Ear plugs! I was a bit afraid that I wouldn’t wake up to my alarm because I couldn’t hear it, but that hasn’t been an issue for two reasons: 1, because I actually can hear my alarm through the ear plugs, albeit faintly, but my body knows what that sound means, and 2, because I usually wake up without my alarm because I’m so well rested! Amazing, huh?

Question of the Day:
What is the maximum amount of rest days you’ve taken in a row? 

 

I Can Breathe!

7 Nov

Last night, I made two purchases, for a grand total of $14.32, which after one day of use have changed my life.

Let’s backtrack a bit. For the past few weeks, I have been feeling really awful, because my allergy/sinus trouble has been out of control. The other problem I’ve been having is that I’ve not been sleeping well — not because I’m having insomnia issues, but because every tiny sound wakes me up. I was getting up 3 or 4 times a night and the result was a very sleepy Kristy.

So last night after dinner and before watching the election results, I went to the store and bought these two items:

It’s a funny story, actually. I was sitting at the neighbor’s house, watching election results with a group of friends, when I decided to run home and use the Neti Pot really quickly. I couldn’t wait to try it. It was a very strange sensation, indeed, but immediately after using it, I felt amazing. My ears didn’t feel clogged, and I could breathe fully and deeply. I walked back over next door, and when I walked in the door, everyone cheered! They had called the election while I was gone! So if anyone ever asks me where I was when Barack Obama was re-elected, I can say I was irrigating my sinuses. Gross.

This morning, I woke up without a sinus headache for the first time in weeks. I’m definitely a convert.

On to the earplugs. I’ve tried plugging my ears before to give myself a silent sleep, but just with cotton balls, and it didn’t help. For some people, white noise helps, but I need complete and total silence. I do not live in a silent neighborhood, however. Also, we lock the cats out of the bedroom at night and one of them can’t accept that, so she stands outside and meows every once in a while. These earplugs are incredible. Once I put them in, I fell right to sleep. When I woke up 7 hours later (on my own), I sat up and looked around. Once I took them out, I heard Zach snoring, a truck outside and a cat meowing by the door. It worked!

Needless to say, I feel amazing today. My sinuses are clear and I’m very well rested.

Hooray!

Question of the Day:
Can you sleep through anything, or do you need complete silence to sleep? 

P.S.
I have some exciting news to share with you tomorrow, so stay tuned!

On Rest and Recovery Before a Big Race

2 Nov

Happy Friday!

I’m so excited about this weekend. The weather is supposed to be nice, I have a girl’s night planned (Dance Central 3 on Kinect will be involved — YES!), and Zach and I will be celebrating our 2 year anniversary! Woo hoo!

I have been crazy tired this week, and feeling just a little under the weather. After not getting a good night’s rest on Tuesday night, I was completely wiped out on Wednesday night. I ended up in bed at 8:30 pm! I woke up at 2:30 in the morning (that’s what I get), read for a little bit, and surprisingly enough fell back asleep until 8:00 AM, making me late for work! I guess I needed it! Then again last night, I was in bed by 9:30 PM. I was up and ready to go to the gym this morning, though, so I think I got the rest I needed.

At the gym, I took the morning yoga class, followed by a shortened version of Clare’s Tabata Sprints workout.

I took my sprint speed up a bit this time, and boy was I feeling it. I was dripping with sweat!

On my way home, I sneakily took a photo for Grow Soul Beautiful‘s Yoga A Day challenge (a day late!):

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

Boy, did yoga feel good this morning! I got really deep into some stretches that I felt like I needed, and when I hopped on the treadmill, I had zero sciatica pain! Woo hoo! I’m feeling really hopeful for a pain-free half marathon a week from Sunday (!!!).

This week has been good for workouts. I’ve done something every day. Since I slept in yesterday, and trick or treat was at 6:00 PM (don’t ask why my town doesn’t do trick or treat on Halloween, because I have no clue), I didn’t have much time to squeeze something in. I did 20 minutes of Pilates, though, and I’m feeling it in my core this morning! On the running front, I’ve done a lot of short distance speed work. I’m setting myself up for a low-to-no running week next week. I can’t promise I won’t go for a little jog if the weather is nice, but I’m planning to stick to lots of stretching and maybe a little pilates to rest/stretch up for the half marathon. I’m still a little nervous, but this morning, while I was sprinting on the treadmill, I realized that fitness-wise, I’m good. I know I can run 13 miles if I need to, and I will. I don’t know if I’ll do it in under 2 hours, but I know I have the capability to do so.

Because I know I have the fitness, and I know I have the capability, this week I’m going to focus on having the mental strength to run 13 miles. I’m also going to focus on getting enough rest, and fueling my body properly (I’ve been struggling with this lately). Wish me luck!

Question of the Day:
How do you prepare for a big race? 

A Long Run and Sunday Eats

20 Aug

I slept so well last night.

Like, the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a very long time.

I did not wake up during the night one time. I did wake up at 5:45 AM long enough to decide that I’m going to be keeping Monday as a rest day, and then rolled right back over and went to sleep until Zach’s alarm went off at 7. Ahh, sweet relief!

I’m in a great mood today, because we have officially entered the period of time which it is appropriate to count down to vacation! Although, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve really been counting down since August began. I really can’t wait, and I have a few vacation related blog post ideas formulating in my mind.

Yesterday was long run day, and I had such a great run! I took a ton of pictures:

From left – right: Me taking a break near my favorite water fountain, my favorite view, and my nemesis/lucky charm, the Muscovy duck that lives in the park where I run. I would have gotten closer to him to take a photo, but I harbor a healthy fear of him, so that’s all you get.

Backtracking a bit, I thought I’d share my meals from yesterday with you. Prior to heading out for my run, I had some greek yogurt with granola and “fruit” (it was really just fruit syrup):

I also had some instant coffee (still no coffee pot), which is surprisingly not bad. I followed it all up with a glass of water and a probiotic (I’m going to do a probiotic post soon, because I’m loving them!) and caught up with some magazines while my food digested.

I had a great run, as I mentioned. My training plan called for 6 miles, but I had to pause my CardioTrainer app (which was tracking my miles) at one point because some guy and I were running a ridiculously similar pace. It was awkward, so I stopped and pulled over to let him go ahead a bit. Apparently I forgot to restart the app, because I didn’t notice it until much later. I estimated I had ran about a mile or so, so I just added an extra loop on at the end of my run just in case I was shorting myself. Well, when I got home, I logged on to Map My Run and I had done 6.81 miles! To be honest, I could have kept running too, so that felt great.

I had planned to make brunch for me and Zach when I got back, but he decided to go golfing with his dad, so I whipped up some lunch for myself. I was surprised that I wasn’t famished right after my run like I usually am, I guess the yogurt/granola combo is a winner for staying power. I’ll have to remember that come half-marathon race day.

I bought some local tofu at the Wild Ramp market which I really wanted to try. I’ll tell you this: I’m never buying any other tofu again. This tofu had the best consistency, I only had to press it for 5 minutes, and I was able to cook it without the tofu breaking up and turning into a scramble. Even when I buy extra-firm at the grocery store, it doesn’t have the firm texture I’d like. I made the Cast Iron Tofu  using Caitlin’s method (Healthy Tipping Point is hands down one of my favorite blogs!), added it to some sauteed Kale and served it over Ramen noodles. Yes, Ramen noodles! I’ll admit I love ’em.

I don’t know if I’ll ever cook tofu another way again. It was so crispy on the outside! I love the texture of tofu, so I left the cubes to be kind of on the large side, but if you made them smaller this would be even crispier. I had a few strawberries on the side also. All of the meals I had yesterday had amazing staying power, and this was no exception. I was full for a long time after I chowed this down.

I went to a 5:30 yoga for runner’s class (which was incredible!) Our instructor focused on the Piriformis, which is a muscle in your glute area. It’s a deep muscle that is hard to stretch, but we sure did stretch it. In fact, I didn’t even know that mine was tight until we started stretching it out. My legs feel  great today! I’m on a budget, so I don’t know if I can afford to shell out the $8 a week to go to this class, but I think I’ll try to make it at least a monthly thing.

After yoga, it was late and we had movie plans with friends, so I whipped together a quick dinner. Earlier in the day, I had made a batch of Indian Curry veggie burgers from the No-Meat Althlete veggie burger formula (found here.) So, burgers it was:

This was an amazing veggie burger! I basically just used the recipe at the end of that post for the Indian Patties, but I didn’t have chickpeas so I used Great Northern instead. Also, I subbed carrots and yellow squash as my veggies. Yum! I made it a double decker because I was quite hungry. Add some baked french fries (yay, health!) and some steamed broccoli w/ a bit of shredded cheddar and it was a yummy meal. I decided to put a dollop of plain yogurt on my burger, and it was a very good decision. After dinner, I was ready for some dessert, so I had a frozen greek yogurt bar (flavor: blueberry), and it was delicious.

It was a great day for food at my house, and I didn’t realize how much yogurt I ate yesterday until I typed it all up. I swear, that isn’t typical!

Question of the day:
What is the best thing you’ve eaten recently? 

Weekend Eats

13 Aug

Still sleeping not-so-great, still having not-so-great runs. Think they are related? Hmmm 😉

I thought I’d use this post to share some of the yummy food I had this weekend. I cannot for the life of me remember what I made for dinner on Friday night (that’s what I thought about while I was laying awake in bed in the wee hours this morning), so I’m going to start with Saturday morning.

I woke up feeling not-so-hot, probably due to the fact that Zach and I met some of his friends out pretty late and then ended up meeting up with another friend. We were out later than usual, and I still wasn’t sleeping so well. I decided I wanted to make something different, so I whipped this together:

 

I chopped up some green peppers, onions and a potato, and sauteed them in my cast iron skillet (which is my favorite thing on earth, by the way). Then I sprinkled on some cheese and cracked two eggs on top and threw it in the oven for about 5-8 minutes.

Oh. my. goodness. was this delicious. I served it up with a slice of whole wheat toast. Yum.

Saturday was kind of….blah. I ended up taking a rest day from exercise because I was so tired from not getting enough sleep. I ended up taking a three hour nap in the middle of the day! I don’t know if I’m a little sick or what, but you would think a three hour nap would be refreshing…nope. I was still so tired throughout the day. But, we decided to meet up with some friends anyway to go to the annual Ribfest happening down by the riverfront: 

Ok, not the healthiest meal, but it sure was delicious. I got the three bone sampler, which came with potato salad, baked beans and a cornbread muffin. The cornbread muffin was more like dessert, but I wasn’t complaining (I ate Zach’s, too). It was pretty good, but I wish we had stood in the longer line to get Carolina Rib King. Though our friends were keeping the party going, I was feeling too run down to go out, so instead Zach and I headed home to watch a movie. On the way back to the car, I made him stop at Tropical Moon so I could get some frozen yogurt:

 

I got the mountain blackberry flavor, and added fresh fruit, including….more blackberries! It was really good, but I think the craving was just a craving, because I was too full from the Ribs to finish it.

The movie we watched was Wanderlust with Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston — it was quite funny! I hope you check it out if you haven’t.

On Sunday, I woke up not feeling great (again!), so I didn’t get around to running until late afternoon. I cleaned house, made some breakfast, and went with Zach to get some new work clothes (for him). Then I decided I had really better get a run in, considering I’d already skipped a training run on Saturday. Here’s how my first week of half training went:

Since I wasn’t feeling so hot on Saturday, I had planned to combine Saturday and Sunday’s run into one long 8 miler, but I ended up not feeling great on Sunday either. 😦 I did end up doing 5.5 miles, so I ended up 2.5 miles short of my goal for the week. It’s not the end of the world, I’m sure I’ll have better weeks. I do need to figure out why I’m feeling blah though – I suspect allergies. Are anyone else’s flaring up a lot right now?

After my run, I made lasagna for dinner, and it turned out really well. When I make lasagna, usually I just throw a bunch of veggies in a bowl, mix in ricotta cheese, mozzarella and spices. Then I layer it with sauce and the noodles. Easy as pie (why is that a saying? Pie is kind of hard to make…):

Yes, I put corn in my lasagna. I had some leftover from something I made, so I threw it in. It was very yummy. After a relaxing Sunday evening, I thought for sure I would sleep well, but I think maybe I was too anxious about it, so I ended up tossing and turning all night 😦

To top things off, here’s what I had for a nice desk breakfast this morning:

Scrambled eggs with cheese and sriracha on a whole-wheat wrap, cottage cheese with blackberries and a cup of green tea (still no coffeepot!). Yum!

Question of the day:
What was the best meal you’ve had recently?