Tag Archive | Rest

To Snooze, or Not to Snooze…That is the Question

Well, I hope everyone is off to a great 2014.  So far, we’ve had a blizzard and an epic cold front here in NY…which, on top of usual everyday work/life stresses, has made it EXTRA difficult to get up for my 5:20am weekday alarm to get to the gym. I’ve found myself hitting the snooze button more now than in the past, and was trying to figure out why, when I stumbled on a Huffington Post article by osteopathic physician, Robert Rosenberg.

He poses a good question when his patients ask “is it okay to keep hitting the snooze button for those extra zzzz’s?” … He tells them to ask themselves why they need to do that, and does it really make them feel better.

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Naturally, this got me thinking…Why do I feel the need to hit the snooze button? Do I really think an extra 8-10 minutes will make a difference?  Does it?  And furthermore, I had to admit to myself that I actually set my alarm earlier than I tend to get up to accommodate a hit or two of “Snooze.”  Can anyone else relate to this habit?

Dr. Rosenberg goes on to explain:
When you hit the snooze alarm, you are disrupting your current stage of sleep. And unfortunately, in many ways, fragmented sleep is worse than no sleep. As an example, if you are in REM sleep and you interrupt it with the snooze alarm, this can lead to an inability to process and reconcile emotionally laden memories from the previous day. In addition, fragmented sleep can result in moodiness, cognitive problems, and trouble paying attention.

The bottom line is that if you chronically find the need to hit the snooze alarm, something is probably wrong. You may be out of sync with your internal circadian clock. You may be a night owl trying to keep the work schedule of a morning lark. You may be someone who is failing at attempting to burn the candle at both ends. Alternatively, you may have a sleep disorder that unbeknownst to you is disrupting and depriving you of quality sleep. Hitting the snooze button is a poor substitute for healthy sleep

I hated to admit it, but as I read the article, I realized that the doc is right. If I’m feeling the need to hit the snooze button during the week (I don’t even set an alarm on weekends), I’m probably not getting enough sleep. I’m already using a sleep mask, which definitely gives me a sounder sleep by keeping any light out (laptop charging light, the moon, street lights, etc).  And I set my coffee maker up the night before so that I know a fresh, steaming cup of delicious java awaits me when I finally get out of bed…but I am STILL in a snooze button habit!

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Some suggestions that Dr. Rosenberg mentioned include “putting the alarm clock where you cannot reach it; using alarm clocks that work by putting out ever-increasing amounts of light as wake-up time approaches; having a coffee maker with a timer set for ten minutes before wake time and close enough so that you can smell it. Even getting a device that can automatically increase your bedroom temperature about one hour before it is time to get up can be helpful, as rising body temperature is another signal to wake up.”

I think I’m going to try putting my alarm clock out of arms reach and actually set the time for when I want to wake up, not when I want to start hitting snooze, haha.  Moreover, I also need to make sure my phone is in “do not disturb” mode so that my sleep is not disrupted by vibrations and dings letting me know someone wants to chat.

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I’ll report back after a while of trying this and see if I can kick the snooze button habit.  If anyone has any other tips, tricks, or snooze button confessionals, feel free to share!

Ciao for now,

-E

My Birthday – Older, Wiser, and Stronger!

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Me recreating the iconic “The Son Of Man” painting by Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte

Well, yesterday was my birthday. Yayyyyy for being another year older, wiser, and stronger. If you read last week’s post, you know I was feeling a bit stressed out (which actually happens just about every birthday because I get overly pensive and reflective about things I wish I would have accomplished). And thankfully my head cold was practically gone on Sunday. I spent the weekend with friends and went apple picking upstate, which was super fun and actually a pretty physical activity as we had to hike through the hills to pick the apples!  It was like a full-body workout, we got to be outdoors, and it was fun to boot!

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So yesterday, I kicked off my birthday with an early morning workout. It felt great to be back in the gym!  I started with some cardio on the elliptical and then was feeling so good that I did squats at the power rack (instead of using the Smith machine) for the first time ever!  To my pleasant surprise, I was able to do about the same weight as with the machine, even after taking a week off from the gym!  I really focused on my form, squeezed my traps together to give the bar a nice shelf, and let my legs and glutes be the power source. It was awesome! And it reassured me that I’d done the right thing by giving my body a rest last week when I was feeling run down.

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These were delivered to me at work! How cute!!

The rest of my birthday was better than I could have imagined.  Between phone calls, texts, facebook posts, private messages, and in-person interactions, I think I received somewhere around 300 well wishes for a happy birthday. I mean, wow. On top of that, I got flowers, a cake and singing at work, several over-the-phone serenades, and scheduled dinner and drink plans for the next 2 weeks to celebrate my born day.  The outpouring of love was surprising, overwhelming, and incredibly humbling. What touched me most of all were the countless messages that express how much I’ve touched someone else’s life by being a source of encouragement, motivation, or support. That, to me, is about the best compliment a person could receive. ❤

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Grateful for another year…Happy Birthday to Me!

On my birthday this year, I’m reminded that it’s not about being the best…it’s about being YOUR best, and evolving every year.  It’s about becoming wiser, stronger, and healthier.  It’s about leading by example and inspiring others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more.  Erma Bombeck said it best:

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.

Ciao for now!
-E

Sometimes Stress Comes Around and it Knocks You Down…

Do you ever feel like so many little things are stressing you out that it just snowballs into one giant stress cloud that you can’t seem to get away from? Well that’s been me this past week. Some career choices on the horizon, working too much, an upcoming birthday (and with that, feelings of “I thought my life would be different/better at this age), and a few other things going on…it just sort of hit me all at once.overwhelm1Source

Normally I would workout rigorously to relieve the stress, but this week my body has rebelled and all I’ve wanted to do is sleep. I tried muscling through (literally) and going hard at the gym, but then when I woke up yesterday with a sore throat, I realized that my body was telling me to sloooowwww downnnn and rest.

So last night, I was in bed by 9pm and slept in until 7:30  this morning (rather than getting up at 5:15 to get ready for a pre-work day gym session). When I got up, I initially felt guilty for skipping the gym (especially because I had taken off the day before), but I also know better than to over-do it when my body is telling me it needs rest. I’d rather take two days off and have a great workout when I go back than push myself and have a bunch of sub-par workouts and still feel lousy.rest-daySource

It’s taken me years to figure out this balance and practice good self-care. We are all susceptible to stress and things we cannot control, so it’s important to figure out what works for YOU to feel better and manage that stress. Sometimes knocking out a gym session will do the trick, but sometimes you just need 2 or 3 days (or maybe even longer) to let your body unwind, recuperate, and feel   stronger.

As I sip my coffee and write this, I’m already starting to feel the itch for a workout, which makes me grateful that I took a couple days off. Tomorrow is going to be a killer gym sesh…I can feel it already 🙂

Ciao for now!
-E