Running at 1 mph…

…hour of sleep that is. As in I ran one mile per hour of sleep that I had gotten the day I started thinking about this post. Which is surely at least three days ago now but probably a week considering my recent rate of writing and posting.

Yes, this is from late October but not much has changed with my sleep patterns. I just stopped tracking them as much.

As you can see my Garmin tells me that I  may not be getting enough sleep, that 100% of people in my demographic sleep more than I do. That’s all of them. All the people my age and gender sleep more than I do on average! That can’t possibly be true. I mean, I know I’m exceptional but they don’t know how all the people sleep.

Back around the first of the year I set some running goals. Well, one really: to log 1,000 miles in 2017. I’m sure there will be some races and at least one half marathon in there too but I’ve got nothing  (other than a fun beer run in early May) on the schedule yet for 2017. Mostly I’m just trying to keep up on life and get regular runs in where I can. So far I’ve gotten 120 miles in for 2017. A little more than 10% of my goal. It’s not great but the first couple months usually are lower mile months due to the cold and dark.


Even though this winter has been exceptionally mild with some weeks in the 50’s and even 60’s already we happened to get a little of the white stuff on one of the two days I managed to run last week. I still got 4 miles in…one for each of my 4 hours of sleep that day.

I’m now one of Those runners. 🙂

I got a Garmin Forerunner 230 back in January. It was a Christmas gift to myself  (and I still had a gift card from my cross country team to use). I’d been wanting some kind of run tracker for a while and decided it was time.


And I’ve got no regrets on this one. I’m probably not using this thing to its full potential but I rather like glancing down mid run and seeing my up to the moment stats. The Garmin app that it syncs with has a lot of features and information too (like the above estimated sleep tracking). I could see myself getting into some super nerdy running stuff later this year, things like cadence and heart rate monitor training.

In the meantime I’m plugging away at those miles as best I can. Some weeks I hit 20 miles and others it’s less than 10. My new rule is that I have to have at least one hour of sleep per mile of running for any given day. With my ever changing crazy work schedule that can be limiting but I really am trying to take care of myself…at least until the end of May when I retake the DAT. After that it’s running time!

By May this crazy Michigan weather should be a little more cooperative.

The Sleep or Eat Phenomenon

sleep-deprivation

Sleep deprivation and I are far from strangers. I’ve worked full time nights for the past three years with a crazy seven night on/seven night off work schedule. Usually when I tell people about this schedule they focus on the positive commenting on how great it would be to have a “whole week off work.” It is pretty nice…but there is always a trade off.
In this case it’s the “week on” work.
If you haven’t worked nights or had to be awake all night and sleeping during the day you really cannot understand how challenging this is. Getting 7 or 8 hours of sleep during the day is just not as restful as the same amount at night. And let’s face it, the likelihood of getting seven or eight hours of daytime sleep is very low. Everyone else is awake and all those mundane little tasks you have to do for daily life, well, most of them must be done during the day. Plus, daylight.
That bastard the sun makes it quite the challenge to sleep during the day. I’m always happy when I get done working and see that it’s a grey, dull day.
One of the things I noticed when I started working nights was that I was hungry ALL NIGHT LONG. Seriously, the whole night.
It was like my body was saying “Hey, if you’re not going to sleep you better eat.”
I call this the Sleep or Eat Phenomenon.

Even after I got used to keeping myself awake through the night this phenomenon persisted. It was especially prominent the first night or two of the week back on work when I’d be readjusting to a nocturnal schedule or when life prevented me from getting more than a few hours of sleep during the day. Maybe you’re thinking about all the times you were very very tired and just wanted to eat out of habit. This is not the same thing, it is an actual feeling of hunger. Real hungry hunger.
I thought maybe it was the body’s way of trying to get enough energy when deprived of sleep. Kind of like gas in a car, if it’s running for longer it needs more gas.
As it turns out, that is not the case.
The “Sleep or Eat Phenomenon” is a real, actual, scientific thing.

One of the topics in my online Intro to Psychology class this week is sleep and how it effects the brain. the professor posted a bunch of links to various articles about sleep deprivation and how harmful it is. About half way through this 60 Minutes video they start talking about the health problems that sleep deprivation causes including diabetes.
That’s right, sleep deprivation contributes to diabetes (if you want to learn more about this follow the above link and go to 13:41 minutes on the video).
As if being ridiculously tired and trying to function wasn’t bad enough already? Now we have diabetes to worry about too.
Basically there’s a hormone that controls feelings of hunger. When you’re sleep deprived production of this hormone slows way down resulting in feeling hungry…a lot.
I feel validated that this whole Sleep or Eat Phenomenon is really a real thing.

Coffee: When you just don't have time to sleep.

Coffee: When you just don’t have time to sleep.

Also, if you skip to the end of that video you can see evidence that sleep deprivation interferes with male fruit flies’ desire to mate.
Now if we could just find a way to deprive all mosquitoes of sleep long enough to stop reproduction altogether….