One of my resolutions for my Happiness Reset project was to “Make Time for Exercise”.
I am now in my third month of my reset (a full update to come soonish, I hope) and I have YET to wake up early to go running, like I had planned to do.
It is no longer dark and cold and miserable like it was back in January and February.
It is a beautiful time of year to be running.
I’ve been choosing sleep instead.
A funny thing happened over the last couple of months.
I’ve been saying on here for years that I don’t need as much sleep as I did before E. was born. Here’s a typical quote, from this post in November 2013:
I’ve been convinced for close to two years now that I don’t seem to need as much sleep as I did before E. was born. Give me six hours in a row, and I’m good to go for the day. I hate waking up in the night to use the loo because if it’s after 3 a.m. I usually don’t get back to sleep, and prednisone just makes my disordered sleeping so much worse.
At Christmas that year, I had a long chat with my mother, who also has terrible problems with insomnia. She told me the only thing that worked for her was just to refuse to get out of bed until it was 6 a.m. Didn’t matter how awake she was, or what time of night it was, she would just lie there and not do anything interesting. And eventually she started going back to sleep again, and gradually it got easier.
I tried this. It took months, but it honestly worked. I started to be able to go back to sleep when I woke up at 3 or 4 a.m. At first it took me an hour or longer, but gradually my body relearned how to fall asleep.
Now, eighteen months after I first started using my mother’s strategy, I’ve realized that my sleep needs HAVE NOT CHANGED since E. was born.
I was just coping really well with constant sleep deprivation.
I was used to disordered sleep patterns.
I was getting so much more sleep (and good quality sleep) than I was when E. was an infant, that I figured I was good to go.
But it turns out, I’m still the same “eight or eight-and-a-half hours a night” girl I was before I had E.
And that’s why I haven’t been running.
I’ve chosen sleep instead.
And it has been GLORIOUS.
Because Q.’s been under less work pressure, we haven’t had to set as many early morning alarms. We’ve been able to wake up more naturally, with the light. There were nights where we slept for over nine hours, but I think now we’ve mostly caught up our deficits. I’m starting to wake up right around the eight hour mark or a little before. Sometimes I’ll be woken up (by E. or one of the cats) at 5:30 a.m., and I just go right back to sleep! This is unheard of for me (at least the me of the last five years).
I miss morning runs, but I’m just not ready to disrupt my body. It knows what it needs.
It’s about time I started listening to it.