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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Great Sleep Experiment

I am a night owl.  Always have been and I thought I always would be.  More and more you hear how sleep is an important component of weight loss.  On average, I get about 6 hours.  My routine was to go to bed after the Golden Girls on the Hallmark 1am.  Then I would get up at 7am when the Mr was done with his morning routine in the bathroom.  On rare occasion I might sneak in a nap if I had a bad night's sleep but usually I was just up 18 hours a day like I think many people are.  Along with the whole top o' the hour treadmill routine I've implemented this week (which sucks by the way but I do it.  The days are FLYING by and it feels like "wasn't I just down here?"), we decided to do a bit of a sleep study.  A friend of ours had a Fitbit Wireless Personal Trainer she didn't use and was offering it up for free.  I was the first person to respond to her offer so she sent it out to us.  The Mr wanted one but we already had the HRM's so we couldn't really justify the expense.  It's really cute and compact though.

It's not much bigger than a quarter.  One of the benefits is you can wear it with this sleeve as you sleep to check how many times you wake up each night and your sleep efficiency.  So we started going up about 11:15pm every night and I've been asleep by between 11:20-11:40pm.  The first night it took me about 7 minutes to get to sleep and I move a bit from 1-3am and got my best sleep from 4-6am.  That trend continued.  Here's a peek at Monday night's sleep pattern:

So I am getting at least an extra hour of sleep every night if not more. I find it odd that with more sleep, I seem to feel exhausted. I'm sure I'll adjust to that but I need to take sleep more seriously and consider it just as important a component of weight loss as exercise and eating right.  So thank you to my friend who sent the Fitbit to us, it's giving us incentive to change our ways to improve our overall well being.  I suppose you can never have too many gadgets.  *grin*

How many hours of sleep do you usually get each night?  Do you think sleep is an important part of weight loss?

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  1. I think that I'm one of the only ones that I know that gets almost 8 hours of sleep each night. I go to sleep by 10 P.M. most nights (okay, let me be honest, usually 9:45 P.M. so that I can fall asleep by 10 P.M.) and I wake up during the weeks at 5:40 A.M. and on the weekends I rarely sleep past 7 A.M.

    So, I'm not really a good person to tell you it helps in weight loss. But, I can tell you that when I used to stay up until 4 A.M. and then get up at 7 A.M. I was a lot heavier. Could have been all of the rubbish food I was eating as well, but, there you go. No scientific help whatsoever.

  2. I absolutely know sleep has a lot to do with weight loss. If I'm tired I crave sugar and I'm more vulnerable to that little voice that says "just one donut. ok, now just one more...". I'm also more likely to get sick if I'm not sleeping enough. I wonder what would happen if I were in a "clean" environment with only "safe" food available and didn't sleep enough? That's not reality though so for me sleep is as important as diet and exercise.

    I'm at my best with about 9 hours of sleep but that's just never going to happen, I usually get around 7 which keeps me functional. Lately I haven't been sleeping well and I can really feel it taking a toll on me. I've got to find way to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.

  3. I get 7-8 hours on average (to bed at 11 p.m. up at 5:50 a.m.--sometimes in bed a bit earlier or I get some sleep on the couch before bed). Weekends, I'll sleep in a bit (usually no later than 8 a.m.) or I'll have a lazy day where I'm very cat-like, napping on and off all day.

    I'm a bit like a baby. I don't function well if I don't get my set amount of sleep.

  4. Wow, I really want one of those! Sounds like an awesome tool!


  5. I get 7 hours a night Monday-Friday IF I don't wake up to pee then can't get back to sleep. Weekends, we sleep 1-1.5 hours later, and we usually take a 1 hour nap on Saturday and Sunday. I know I need more than 7, but I can function pretty well with just 7.

    I totally agree with another layer's first paragraph. I can usually manage having one night of messed up sleep, but turn that into two and I am wanting to eat junky foods where normally my diet is clean.

  6. I too love my fitbit as it really shows me how little actual sleep I get. I can fall asleep on a dime but after almost four hours, I wake often. So although I'm in bed for anywhere between 6-8 hours, I average a lot less sleep.

    I think it is a very important factor in weight loss.

  7. That is interesting! I love sleep and could sleep my life away if I could :) Is that an option?

    Anywho I get usually at least 8 hours but really like to get 9. That is when I feel the best and if on the weekends I can sleep in and go to bed early enough, that is about how much I get.

    The times I only get 7 its doable but I don't prefer it at all. I can tell the difference. I heard somewhere that sleep cycles are on three hour increments and so it is better to not interrupt those. Maybe that is why I like my 9? Who knows if that is true though.

  8. I don't sleep well, and I never have. I'm in bed for about 7-8 hrs. but I toss and turn most of the night. I get 2 good hrs, right when I go to bed and then 2 more solid hrs between 2-4. I read so much about how important sleep is, I wish I slept better.

  9. I try to get to bed by 10pm, and I have to be up by 6:30 to help my husband get off to work.

    BUT.. I have a little dog, who gets up in the middle of the night. Like clockwork 2-3 times a night, he jumps in the bathtub, and then whines to get out. So that wakes me up..

    I just see it as practice when babies come. haha

  10. The older I get and the more menopause sets in, the worse my sleep patterns. That is a cool little device--I should check into that to check my sleep. Some nights I'm up a lot so I know I don't get much then, but some nights I think I slept well but the middle of the day tells me I didn't.

  11. This post about sleep was perfect timing for me. I've been trying to get more sleep the last few days.

    I used to get 4 hours/night and was happy with that for years and years. Then it naturally went up to 6 hours/night while getting treatment for breast cancer. Now I'm trying to consistently hit 8 hours every night as part of my new self care/prevent the cancer from recurring/lose weight regime.

    I'm discovering that I'm tired when I wake up -- as if 8 hours is too much. But it's early days. I would rather err on the side of too much than too little sleep because of the link between obesity and lack of sleep.

    Does anyone else have trouble sleeping when there's a full moon? Seriously. It's a problem for me and has been for a long time.

  12. I think I'm a really good sleeper, but this would be interesting to see. I've actually looked into getting one of the FitBit's because it automatically updates to and that is where I track.

  13. Okay, I feel like the odd one here. I'm a night owl, even if I'm tired in the evening by 11pm I'm wide awake. A lot of times I'm up working, reading or whatever until 1 or 2am. Sometimes I've napped on the couch for an hour or so then wake up, take care of a few things and have trouble getting back to sleep. Last night I was still awake at 3:30a, the alarm went off at 6a but I dozed until 7:30a and arrived at work at 9a. Normally I try to be in bed between 12m-1a and up btwn 7-7:30a. So I guess I get by on 6-7 hrs, maybe a little more on weekends. As I get older my system doesn't want to wake up early if I went to bed too late. And just to make me out as a liar, I'm doing just fine today on about 4 hrs of interrupted sleep. Almost pulled an all-nighter last night, my mind didn't want to slow down so I'd already decided to give it another 15 minutes before I got up and went back to work instead of lying there trying to sleep. Maybe that's what finally allowed me to nod off!

  14. Also in menopause and sleep is worse than ever. If it's not nightmare or night sweats, it's getting up to go to the bathroom. I have not had a night where I didn't get up at least once for the bathroom in years, usually it's two or three times.

  15. That is pretty nifty. I don't get enough sleep and definitely should get more to see if it helps with the weight loss. Tonight I'll get 5 hours, tomorrow about 7. I know I need more based on how often I nod off. Now, I'm curious about the fitbit thingy-lol!

  16. I've never tracked the moon and my sleep at the same time. That's an interesting thought Star Polisher. I'll have to watch for that the next couple months.

  17. I know I don't get enough sleep, and yes, I think it probably plays a role in weight loss. How big of a role, whether it is just a bit walk-on or a starring role, I really don't know.

    On average I probably get about 6.5 hours of sleep a night. I'm usually exhausted by the time I hit the sack (or the hay, if you will). I know that I seem to do best on at least 7 hours of solid sleep.

    But I do have to say, that the sleep I usually get is pretty good quality! I don't have much issue with sleeping good and that, my friend, is niiiicceeee (knock on wood)! LOL :-)


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