Tuesday 3 October 2017

#270 Wearing yourself out to improve how well you sleep

At 17:15 yesterday, I put down my pen and headed south on foot for an hour. To say I'd gone for a walk wouldn't be accurate. I would run, then stride effortfully, then run again. Once I'd been gone an hour, I stopped and came back again.

At times while I ran and walked, I would feel uncomfortable. Spending two hours of my evening commuting to nowhere hadn't been among my plans for the week and besides, it was exhausting. I was making myself exhausted. That was the plan. So I told myself "It's good. It's good that you don't like it".

I had to have covered eight miles or so. To the south of the island, through the tunnel, up and over Greenwich park and then back again. Puffing and sweating into my tracksuit with the sole intention of wearing myself out.

To call it exercise would be more accurate but that wasn't even the point of it. I needed a sleep. A good sleep. I was craving one. The kind where you naturally drift into solid, uninterrupted Zs and feel refreshed and full of beans upon waking.

It's not that I had insomnia or anything but Monday had near enough marked the start of a new month. A new quarter, even. I was tired. I'd woken up tired, having decided to watch half of Fight Club the night before instead of going to bed.

One of the peculiar effects of being tired was that my mind tended to race more, which, despite being knackered, made it harder to sleep come nighttime. I'd needed something to enhance my tiredness. A catalyst of sorts for whatever chemical reaction made people go to sleep. If it was a chemical reaction. Or was it hormonal? Were hormones chemicals? All I knew was that if I wore myself out, I might be more likely to sleep better. So that's what I did, for two hours.

Dinner tasted better. My evening shower felt more comforting and with any luck, when I climbed into bed and started reading, it wouldn't be long before the words started blurring and I repeatedly lost concentration before having to put the book aside and victoriously turn out the light.


Fizzfan said...

Did it work and are you full of beans this morning?

Running on empty said...

It might be an idea to go earlier in daylight if you can, for 1. Safety, and 2. The closer to bedtime you exercise, the more hyped you are. We would advise people not to exercise in the evening, except for, well you know.
Physical exercise in the day definitely helps sleep.

Profound Familiarity said...

Thank you Cath. I tend to do work-related things until 5pm so I usually head out early evening. It leaves a good four hours between exercising and sleeping. Safety-wise there are lots of joggers and commuters around at that time. I ideally wouldn't want to run around here any later than about 10pm.

Profound Familiarity said...

Hey, how're you?

My housemates were using the kitchen until 12:20am. It enrages me. I probably nodded off around 1am. The exercise did help. In the morning, I felt like all the blood was circulating around my body and mind much more fluidly.

Running on empty said...

Pretty thoughtless of them.

Running on empty said...

Well, the earlier in the evening the better.