fitness · meditation · rest · sleep · yoga · Zwift

Sleep, stress, and exercise: Sam’s vicious cycle

I’m the Nap Queen. Sleep is my super power. I prioritize rest. These are some of the songs I sing on the blog.

La La La.

La la la la

But lately it feels more like…

Blah. Blah. Blah.

I have a very stressful job and lately I haven’t been sleeping that well. I’m worrying a lot.

So I have been tired and also some days, not feeling much like hard exercise. I mean, I’m still working out. I still bike commute. I still throw a little yoga in here and there. I walk Cheddar and I do some rowing on the erg. But my passion for big. heavy lifting or long efforts on the bike? Nope. Nada.

That’s very not me. So I’ve been listening to the voice that says ‘more rest.’ I’m going to bed early.

But it hasn’t really been helping. I’m sleeping but I am not sleeping that well. Stress and heat are both factors but also without the serious exercise, I’m just not that tired.

One thing that’s occurred to me that is that I use exercise to burn off stress and it makes me tired. The combo makes for an excellent night’s sleep. I slept my best during the pandemic when I was zwifting 5 or 6 nights a week. If I’m too tired to work out, I don’t exercise in the evening and then I have a crappy night’s sleep.

Listening to your body doesn’t always mean more rest. Sometimes the message is more complicated than that.

I’m going to try exercising even when I don’t feel like it, knowing I’ll feel better after. I’m usually the sort of person who uses exercises as a reward. It’s a fun thing that I do. I might have to change my thinking a bit.

I’m going to also look for some non exercise stress relief. I’ve got Adriene’s Find What Feels Good app on my phone and I might see what night time yoga and meditation do for my sleep.

What helps you get a good night’s sleep?

3 thoughts on “Sleep, stress, and exercise: Sam’s vicious cycle

  1. Sleep is so hard! Exercise and meditation help. But for me, only if they reduce stress, which sometimes takes more. Sigh. And I agree, sometimes the body’s messages are mixed and asking for rest is just a decoy for don’t-feel-like-it and another source of stress. Thanks for taking on this complication in the post.

  2. Honestly, leaving town is the best way for me to get a good night’s sleep. I went to NYC this weekend and slept like a rock at Martin and Andrew’s place. Ditto for my mother’s and sister’s houses. But of course this isn’t practically possible.

    And you’re so right about the complexities around sleep, stress, fatigue, weariness, world-weariness, pandemic-weariness, work, etc. I have things I do to try to help, but they’re likely the same as yours.

    Let’s all keep talking about this. In the meantime, I wish you some ease.

  3. Warm (non-caffeinated beverages). Even just hot water. I also take a natural supplement that is supposed to be calming. A naturopath recommended it to me years ago and I just kept taking it. She recommended it for anxiety not sleep, but to take it at night. I am not sure if it makes a big difference but I generally sleep well. I can give you the name of it, if you’d like. Not pushing these things though 🙂 And yes the days I have a lot of exercise I sleep better.

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