I’ve been trying to really focus on how I’m feeling and what’s going on in my day to day life to help myself understand why I’ve been feeling down and see if there’s anything I can fix or change.
I work EARLY mornings (4am alarm) once to twice a week and usually not back to back days. This week my schedule has been so that this has been every morning. It’s fine, I’m not one of those people who can’t function in the early hours. I have energy and I actually find the early mornings calming. Currently it’s 5:09pm and I’m typing up this post on my commute to Manhattan.
The problem isn’t the mornings, it’s the trouble I’ve been having sleeping. Once I’m asleep, I actually have no problem — I’m out like a light and I sleep like an indestructible rock. The problem is GETTING THERE. Lately I’ve had a really hard time falling asleep.
I always crawl into bed between 9-10pm. I give myself an hour to unwind — sometimes I read a book, sometimes scroll through my iPad (I know they say this is bad to do before bed but I haven’t noticed a difference in how I sleep/fall asleep when doing this versus reading an actual paperback), sometimes I just snuggle with my boys. I always shut down when my eyelids feel heavy and then….I wait for sleep.
It never comes quickly but sometimes it comes easier and sometimes not at all. There are nights where I finally shut down around 11:30, sometimes midnight and sometimes, painfully, not until 2am or later. Mind you, I’ll just be laying in bed tossing and turning and getting more and more frustrated that my body won’t shut down.
I think this is a huge factor in why I’ve been starting to feel depressed. Not only have been running on 4-5 hours of sleep a night but I live a VERY active lifestyle and am pushing myself quite hard on little rest. My husband is the type of person who only needs 4 hours of sleep a night and can go work a 12 hour day with an hour plus workout on top of it and feel fantastic. I am NOT built that way. I am most efficient when I’ve gotten a full, uninterrupted 7-9 hours of sleep.
Yesterday it hit me after I wrote that blog post that I was utterly EXHAUSTED. I needed rest in the worst way. Yesterday my day started at 4am when my first alarm went off. I didn’t fall asleep until after 1am the night before. I knew I was overtired when I sprung out of bed without even hitting the snooze at 4am. I don’t think my body even went through one cycle of deep sleep. After getting dressed, washing my face and grabbing a coffee from 7/11 I was on my early morning train. I walked from Grand Central down to 16th street and taught my HIIT class. Like I said, I was full energy so after class I was ready for a killer workout. However, I knew I had to teach again in the evening so I didn’t want to deplete ALL my energy just yet so I kept my workout light and just did a half hour of steady state cardio. I walked back to grand central and got on the train home. It wasn’t until I was walking back to my apartment that I realized I was FULL ON FATIGUED. Of course, I tried to push through it, as I typically do — because I have WORK to do! I had a raging to do list consisting of cleaning out the apartment and preparing it to be photographed, laundry, still had to go back to the gym to lift, a meeting, a client’s chalkboard pick up, a sketch to do and one more class to teach. So I made myself a huge bowl of oatmeal with almond milk, peanut butter and raspberries with some egg whites on the side to fuel myself for the day and get some energy. I had already had 3 HUGE cups of coffee.
My eyelids were actually burning as I ate breakfast, I was SO tired. So after breakfast I gave in to the fatigue. I grabbed Gatsby (who is ALWAYS down for a nap) and little dude and I snuggled up on the bed and took a nap in front of the window with the sun beaming in. I slept for about 2 and a half hours until a phone call woke me up. I never feel rested after a nap, just groggy. I had to teach again in a few hours and really wanted to get to cleaning my apartment but I felt tired and useless. So, logically, I drove to the gym. I was shaking from lack of sleep and too much coffee but I somehow managed to crank out a 30 minute session of shoulders. Back home the workout did its job and I had a burst of energy. I cleaned out the apartment and was off to teach. I got home around 7:45pm, had dinner and went straight to bed. I was EXHAUSTED. You’d think I would have passed right out, no?
Not until almost 1. 😑 I shut everything down at 10:30 and just tossed and turned. I forced myself to lay still with my eyes closed and wait for sleep to come. I listened to ASMR, I had lavender burning, I had even taken melatonin.
Now here I am, a few hours later already planning today’s nap. I don’t want to nap because sometimes I fee like it makes it harder to sleep at night so I may try to push through. The good thing is that today my work day is done at noon.