We took the leap into the world of fitness trackers this week. It has been eye opening for me. Not for the weight tracking, nor is it because of calorie counting, or daily vitamins. The eye opener was my sleep schedule. Since high school, I have pretty much had the same habits. Back then, it was up at 5 am for some kind of activity, go to school, after school activity, homework, chores, and then free time. Free time lasted until 10 or 11 pm most nights. Then back up at 5 the next morning. This is currently my same routine. Except, instead of 10 or 11, I am up until at least midnight the majority of the time. When we first opened the fitness trackers, the sleep tracking portion was one I was most excited about. I would be able to see my quality of sleep! I always knew I didn’t get quite enough sleep, but I get a little more on the weekends so I’m sure I’m fine. I can live my life on caffeine right? Copious amounts of coffee and then an energy drink in the afternoon to perk me up. This is normal right? Doesn’t everyone live this way? The first night I slept 4 hours and 59 minutes. I chastised myself a bit and told myself I would do better the next day. The next night I slept 4 hours and 4 minutes. Ok ok, I told myself. This looks bad but it’s not always this way right? The next night I slept 3 hours and 56 minutes. Now we are to last night with a total of 4 hours and 23 minutes. I am living my life in a state of perpetual exhaustion. It’s really easy to make excuses for this. I have to do all of these things at night. I have a family to care for, dinners to make, laundry to do, project to finish. I deserve some free time to enjoy myself. See that is the hang-up. I am staying up late to enjoy some free time with my husband, but I am allowing myself too much free time. I tell myself I can stay up a little later because this is the most relaxed I have been all day. I may be falling asleep at my computer but that’s ok because I want to squeeze every bit of enjoyment I can out of my day. I want it desperately. In essence I am starving my body of the rest and rejuvenation that it so desperately needs for just a few more hours of fun.
Sleep deprivation is no joke. Sleep deprivation causes weight gain (because of course it does), irritability, depression, cancer and a myriad of other issues that can have long term effects. Some studies have found that it can also lead to the onset of dementia. For the past 20 years or so I have been setting myself up to fail and shortened my life span in the name of fun. If we want to talk being irresponsible, this is a big red flag of irresponsibility. I’m just avoiding looking directly at said flag, or sometimes, looking directly at the flag, flipping it off and telling it I’m going to do what I want. Around the holidays this year, I was off of work for 11 days. 11 glorious day and do you know what I did? I had plenty of sleep every single night. I felt better than I had in a long time. As soon as work started up again, I was right back to almost no sleep and some nights, none at all.
I don’t want to anymore. I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of being irritable. I’m also scaring myself because I find that I’m a bit more forgetful than I used to be. I have trouble focusing and for someone with ADD where that is already an issue, this just exacerbates it to an unacceptable level.
Accountability. The entire point of getting the fitness tracker is accountability. I need something staring me in the face showing me the data and irrefutable facts. It’s easy to ignore these things. Gain weight? Stay away from full length mirrors and photos. Not getting enough sleep? Just grab that vat of coffee and tell yourself you’ll go to bed extra early tonight (even though you know you won’t). I’m writing this and I’m nervous about tonight. I’m already exhausted. I just did the math and this week I have only slept for 17 hours and 36 minutes. If we go to the low end of how much sleep a woman of my age should get, (7-9 hours) over the past four nights I should have attained 28 hours of sleep. I had to re-do those numbers because when I first looked at it, I thought there was no way it could be correct. Sadly, it is absolutely correct. I have shorted myself an entire nights sleep. My body does not get to recover and only gets enough energy to get by. WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?! Either way it has to change. Anyone else starving themselves of sleep? Anyone been there, overcome this problem, and come out on the other side better for it? Drop me a note and tell me about your experience.