Soft kitty, sleepy kitty, little ball of fur…….

So apart from the Big Bang Theory reference what am I talking about?  Well it’s all about sleep.  I have been sleeping really poorly for the last week or so and it has had a big impact on me. I think that the importance of quality sleep is vastly underestimated.

For me it either takes the form of an initial sleep deprived insanity, which Mrs Munki hates as she usually suffers the brunt of it.  Or slipping in to a splitting headache the more tired I become throughout the day.  The main other issue is the impact it has on my training and recovery.

If I don’t get good quality of sleep for a while my motivation goes through the floor.  In the past I have struggled through this feeling and gone to the gym. I then end up getting injured, as I wasn’t staying focussed.  This then doesn’t help my sleep as my injury causes me to become uncomfortable at night.

So if I get in this position I don’t go training that night and go home and get an early night and try to catch up on missed sleep.  As this is the only thing I am capable of doing at this point.

It has been proven that lack of sleep does accumulate a sleep debt that does eventually have to be paid back.  This sleep debt thing seems to hit me really hard.  It seems I have to payback my debt really quickly otherwise I feel terrible.  But I suspect this has something to do with my recovery requirements at my age.

I have tried a number of the suggested remedies for improving sleep.  One of the ones that I have found works for me is keeping the bedroom temperature low.  I also have a shower before bed and turn it to cold at the end.  This could be considered a little extreme but it definitely helps me get to sleep.  This page explains more about this if you are interested. http://www.sleepdex.org/thermoregulation.htm

Also I stick to a regular schedule.  So I try to get to sleep by 11pm so I can get 8 hours in before getting up for work.  The schedule thing is also another recommendation for improving sleep.  It does seem to actually work as I do start to feel sleepy around this time.

I have also tried a couple of the sleep monitoring apps for my iPhone.  Just to see if I thought I had slept pretty good, but in fact I hadn’t had actually gone into a deep sleep.  One of them had a pretty good display, with different graphs and percentage information.  But I could pretty much tell on my own if I had slept rubbish and it also meant I couldn’t use my nice sun rise alarm clock Mrs Munki had got me.

I also try and make sure I don’t eat any carbs about 2 before I go to bed.  I find that if I don’t stick to this I start to get really uncomfortably hot in bed and this causes me to wake up a lot during the night.  I radiate that much heat even Mrs Munki complains.

One weird one I have also tried, much to Mrs Munki’s amusement is wearing sunglasses an hour before bedtime.  Why?  Well apparently your eyes react to blue light and this dictates the amount of melatonin your brain releases.  This is the sleep hormone that you need to get to sleep.  So bright TV’s and computer screens affect melatonin release and can stop you feeling sleepy.  So you can buy blue light filtering glasses or go for the cheaper option and use the sunglasses I already had.  I have to admit I have only done this in extreme situations.  But having said that it does definitely work as after 30 minutes of so with them on I do start yawning.

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I have also installed software on my laptop called f.lux (you can find it here).  It works on Windows and Apple devices.  This dims the brightness of you screen in line with what time of day it is.  So in the morning it’s nice and bright and by evening time the brightness reduces to help with getting to sleep.  I think it’s a pretty nifty little thing and for free is even better.

Yes I do put a lot of effort into getting a good night’s sleep, but I can always tell the difference when I don’t and I hate suffering like that.  Especially when I know there were things I could have done to help myself.  These impacts have given my first had experience that I would be dumb to ignore.  Plus better sleep more mat time, makes a happier Munki!

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