03-26-2015

Help Me Sleep!

I have had the worst sleep lately. All week it has taken me an hour to fall asleep, and then I end up waking up every hour feeling wide awake and struggle to go back to sleep. It is so frustrating.

I know there are things I could be doing, like logging off from the computer earlier in the night, so I’m looking for other tips beyond this. 

Basically, I just toss and turn every night. Even beyond just this past week, every single night I wake up to go to the bathroom at least 1-2 times. The only nights I don’t are when I had a hard workout or something and am exhausted.

This issue seriously sucks, and from what I’ve found online it’s called “nocturia,” which is described as this by the Cleveland Clinic:

Nocturia is a condition in which you wake up during the night because you have to urinate. 

Normally, you should be able to sleep six to eight hours during the night without having to get up to go to the bathroom. People who have nocturia wake up more than once a night to urinate. This can cause disruptions in a normal sleep cycle.

I’ve told my doctor about it, and they tested me for diabetes and what not (don’t have it), and told me to just not drink too much water/fluids before bed. I do that. The last I drink is usually during dinner and maybe I’ll have a gulp of water right before bed.

My sleep is so interrupted because of this, and as a result I feel tired most days. And this past week…forget it…on Monday I took an almost 2 hour nap because I was so tired from not being able to fall asleep the night before.

Ecard

Do people sleep through the whole night and wake up feeling awake and refreshed? Because I honestly can’t imagine what that feels like. This is also what contributes to my “not a morning person” thing…I can’t wake up to exercise when I feel like a zombie and haven’t gotten restful sleep.

This post is pretty much just venting about lack of sleep, but I do want to hear your tips. How do you help yourself fall asleep at night? Here’s my usual bed time routine:

  • Read stuff on my laptop while I watch some Netflix. This is my way of relaxing after a long day.
  • Brush my teeth, take my contacts out, etc. etc.
  • Lay in bed, scroll through Instagram before setting my alarm and turning off the light.
  • Lay there for 15 minutes…still awake…get up to pee again so I can empty my bladder before falling asleep in hopes of not waking up in the middle of the night (doesn’t work).
  • If I don’t fall asleep within 15-30 minutes, repeat above step.
  • Eventually fall asleep, and wake up at 2-3 am to pee.

I know one thing I can probably improve is scrolling through Instagram before bed. I should probably just read a book or something. But I really just want something mindless; sometimes books get my mind going and I can’t stop thinking about the book or plotline as I try to fall asleep lol.

I bought peppermint tea the other day to have after dinner as another way to relax. Maybe I’ll buy a lavendar candle or something to light before bed? Has anyone tried melatonin?

I am open to any and all suggestions!

What is your bedtime routine? Do you use anything to help you fall asleep?

Anyone else have to deal with “nocturia?”

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12-04-2014

How and Why You Should Nap

Who loves naps? I would take a nap everyday if I could. The nice thing about working from home some days is that I CAN take a nap, but usually I don’t because I just think of everything else I could be doing with that time. But some days, desperate times call for desperate measures ;)

If you nap, you’ve likely experienced that nap where you pass out, wake up 2 hours later, and still feel tired and groggy. Those are the worst. Dan never naps because he always wants to take long naps – I try to tell him 20-30 minutes is the perfect amount but he says that’s too short. 

So with that being said…let’s talk about some nap tips!

Napping Tips

Napping boosts productivity

Taking a short nap gives your  mind some rest and helps you wake up refreshed and ready to get back to work. In a study done by UC Berkeley, they found that a test group who took a 90-minute nap did much better on tests and were actually able to learn and retain more information than those who did not nap during the day. 

It’s as though the e-mail inbox in your hippocampus is full and, until you sleep and clear out those fact e-mails, you’re not going to receive any more mail. It’s just going to bounce until you sleep and move it into another folder.”

Now obviously we can’t all be taking 90 minute naps, but it goes to show that taking a short, power nap on your lunch break could make you more productive for your afternoon work shift.

Short naps are key

According to the Mayo Clinic, 10-30 minute naps are the perfect length. You will wake up refreshed as opposed to groggy. Taking shorter naps will also decrease the chances of it interfering with your sleep at night. The Mayo Clinic also suggests taking naps between 2-3 p.m. I always get the afternoon slump around this time! If you do want to take a longer nap, then go for 90 minutes. This will equal an entire sleep cycle, so you’ll wake up with no grogginess. This graphic from Lifehacker is very helpful!

How Long Should I Nap
Drink coffee before a nap

My roommate actually told me this in college. If you drink coffee before a nap, it takes about 20-30 minutes for the caffeine to kick in, so you’ll wake up from the caffeine, and wake up energized and ready to get back to work.

I visited Google headquarters in NYC a few years ago, and they had this awesome nap pod for their employees. I mean how cool is this?

Google

I’ve seen WeWork coworking spaces with nap areas as well. Companies are starting to see that napping can really boost productivity, as opposed to slogging along with your work half asleep. I remember when I had an internship in college that was about an hour commute. I would go to my car and take a 20 minute nap during my lunch break. I seriously love naps.

In Paraguay, their lunch break is two sometimes three hours, to allow people to go home for lunch and take a “siesta.” Though, their workday ends at 7. Not sure which I would prefer, 9-5(ish) with a one hour lunch, or 8-7 with a 2 hour break in the middle. Probably 9-5 because staying longer would interfere with my gym time ;)

Do you take naps? If you had a nap pod at work, would you use it?

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11-12-2012

What it’s like to quit coffee

Last week, I quit coffee cold turkey. *gasp*

I was a major coffee addict, and plain ol’ regular coffee didn’t even do the trick for me anymore. My favorite drink was Americanos because they were just pure espresso shots.

I decided to experiment with myself and cut coffee out. Instead, I would drink green tea, and teas without caffeine in the afternoons. The reason I wanted to get myself off coffee is because there have been studies regarding the hormone cortisol, and it’s effects on body fat %, belly fat, and storing fat in general. Caffeine can make cortisol kick in, and therefore make it harder for your body to lose body fat. I tend to store fat in my belly area, so I suspect that I may be sensitive to cortisol. Therefore, I decided to cut caffeine and see what effect it has!

The first day was hard. I felt foggy and sluggish all morning and into the afternoon. By 8 pm, I was exhausted and was ready for bed. I couldn’t believe I felt so tired! BUT that night I got the best night’s sleep I have gotten in a very long time. This made me want to continue the experiment and see if it was related to my cutting coffee.

Seriously slept SO well.

The second and third day I got headaches in the afternoon (usually I hit an afternoon slump and drink a second cup of coffee). But again, I was sleeping so well, that in the mornings I was waking up with energy.

By the end of the week, I didn’t feel those withdrawal symptoms anymore…only the occasional headache. All week, I seriously slept like a baby. I had absolutely NO idea that I wasn’t sleeping well until this. I just thought I was a light sleeper and it was normal for me to toss and turn and wake up a few times throughout the night. This past week I did not wake up at all. I even woke up BEFORE my alarm some mornings, which never happens. But obviously fell  back asleep because I love my sleep ;)

I’m pretty sure I will not be going back to coffee. Even if there are no measurable effects in terms of body fat %, the effects it has had on my sleep are amazing…and if you know me you know how important sleep is to me!

I would challenge you to try it and see if there are any changes. You may think you are sleeping well or doing fine, but turns out the caffeine is effecting you on a small scale you may not even notice!

Now, every morning I have been drinking green tea. I just bought Bigelow’s green tea with peach (delicious), and decaf chai tea for afternoons when I want something “coffee-like.” I also bought ginger-coconut tea from Teavana to drink at night after dinner to help with digestion.

Have you ever quit coffee? Do you think you could do it?