Weighty Matters

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Better Quality Sleep

In recent months, I’ve seen numerous references and articles addressing the need for enough hours of quality sleep every night.  Every article/reference included information that we lower the quality of our sleep when we have electronic devices in the bedroom.

*insert sly wink, hehehe chuckle, snorty giggle and merry-eyed look here*

I’ll see you your entendre and double it.  I don’t mean those electronic devices, naughty-minded people.  The articles are talking about cell phones, tablets, even, televisions.  The gist of the info suggests that when these electronic gadgets are present and turned on (Okay, enough with the sexual innuendos! 🙂 ), they are distracting us from the full quality sleep that we need.  Even if we aren’t actually using them, they affect us.

Hmmmph, I thought the first few times I saw this mentioned.  Could this really be the case?  I mean, it’s not like I wake up every time my phone chimes because of a new email received, or that I come awake to play my turn in Words with Friends.  After all, even though my phone is plugged in and sitting on the bed-side table in close proximity to my brain, I have it switched to vibrate.  Isn’t that enough, I wondered.

Apparently not, according to all of the stuff I read.  From what I understand, if my phone is on, my subconscious is not completely resting.  It’s still, on some level, listening and registering the buzz of the vibration or, if the phone is still set to full sound, the little chimes and beeps.  Ordinarily, I would cite the articles, but I don’t have that info handy, so I’m proceeding with the less scientific, “Hey, I read about it in lots of stuff”.   Finally, after about half a dozen different references came my way, I thought, “What if?”

What if there’s something to these claims?  What if someone actually published a peer-reviewed study, obtained solid, verifiable data, and can fully support this theory?  What if, instead of logging the full throttle Zzzzzzzzzzs, I’m short changing myself.  Maybe I’m only getting Wwwwwwwwws, or, even worse, only Uuuuuuuuuus?

Above all, why am I depending on the iPhone for the time and the wake-up alarm when right there on the table next to the iPhone is a perfectly good, working clock radio?

So, last week, just for the sake of checking it out for myself, when I went to bed, I turned off my phone.  Total black screen.  Much to my surprise, when I woke up the next morning, I noticed a difference.  I felt better-rested with that lovely, content, oh-I-really-slept-well feeling.

Afraid that it was a lucky coincidence or a fluke, I tried again the following night.  Same great affects the next morning.  I’ve now done this for at least a week of sleeps and my own personal little data set says the articles and references might be right.  I’m enjoying a better, deeper, quality of sleep than I do when I sleep with the phone on next to my bed.

There are other studies that suggest good quality sleep is also important for successful weight loss.  I’m still collecting personal data on that idea, but for now the phone remains off when the lights go off at Casa Stella!


Making the Most of the New Sleep Pattern

Have I mentioned before that I’ve never been a morning person? I keep holding onto that thought, all evidence to the contrary. In the last year in particular, my internal clock keeps resetting its alarm and waking me up earlier. I’m not sure if waking up earlier is connected in some way to my weight loss. It could just be a result of me being in my mid-50s. The older we get, the less sleep we need.

I sleep well and am no longer concerned with the sleep hypopnea with which I was diagnosed prior to weight loss surgery. I fall asleep easily at night and, for the most part, sleep soundly unless I really have stressful things going on. The dogs usually wake me up once at some point in the night, but I fall right back to sleep. For the most part however, when I would happily sleep in on a weekend until 9:00 a.m., that hasn’t happened in a long time, unless I’ve gotten up earlier, been up a little while, and then gone back to bed. (That’s rare.) The other exception is after I’ve traveled. I tend to do well if I have a little longer lie in the following day.

For probably the last year, most mornings, I wake up before my 6:45 a.m. alarm. For a long time, I’ve really resisted this reality. To be honest, I’ve resented the early wake up. I don’t know why. Lately, I’ve begun to adopt the attitude that it is what it is. Why fight the inevitable? Most days this past week, I woke up between 5:45 and 6:15 a.m. Some of this might have been the time change, but whatever the case, there was no way I was falling back to sleep these mornings so I tried to be productive. Three days I bounced out of bed and did a program from my in-home walking DVD. This morning I said the hell with the 15-18 mph wind from the north east and went for a bike ride. Me. On the bike before 6:30 a.m. Somewhere in Heaven, my mother, who was always an early riser, is giggling. I have to say that I felt pretty damned good about getting in an eight mile ride. When I returned, I leashed up the dogs and got them out for a good walk.

I almost hate to admit it, but there’s something to be said for being a morning person. For the next few months, it gets dark pretty early, so I have less opportunity to walk or ride after work. Walking up and not squandering the time has its advantages if it helps me put in solid exercise time before I go to work.

Honestly, I don’t think this sleep pattern will change anytime soon. I might as well make the most of it.