So to update on the sleep challenge—I can more or less go to bed at the same time every night (somewhere between ten and ten thirty at night); the waking up is still a work in progress.
I get up at the same time Monday thru Friday for work (I use an alarm, or else I’d never be to work before say eleven in the morning—and that doesn’t work to well in the science field [unless I was already a full tenured professor]), and have just started to set a time for getting up on the weekends.
My new goal for the sleep challenge (and it will still take me easily two to three months to complete) is to slowly ease back the wakeup time on the weekend until I’m getting up at the same time everyday. Right now I’m allowing myself basically an hour of sleeping in on the weekends before both the alarm goes off and I get out of bed. My plan is to do the “extra hour” sleep in on the weekends for another two or three weekends, and then ease the time back say ten minutes, do that for two or three weekends, and then ease it back another ten minutes until the alarm is set at the same time for every day.
Like I said, this is going to still take me a few months, because I’m pretty sure that there will be one weekend (or part of a weekend), when I decide to turn the alarm off and I’m not sure if I would wake up at that early time without it or not (though it would be a hypothesis to test).
So the next challenge in the 52-week challenge is the “keep off the couch” challenge. Basically what this challenge is aimed at is to ensure that you aren’t sedentary all the time. I already know that the big challenge for me will be the weekends, when I’m not running around all the time like I am at work.
The author of the book gives numerous suggestions for how to be active throughout the day:
Walking (either walking to (and/or) from work, depending on the distance and weather; walking the dog [did this out in Boston, and it did help me lose the weight]; running errands, parking further away from the store; and basically taking a walk at the beginning or end of the day).
Taking an active lunch (something I need to start doing more of).
Stretching at work
If you watch TV, you could do any of the following:
Change loads of laundry between washer & dryer during the commercials, and stand when folding.
Cardio workouts (stationary bike, elliptical trainer)
Take the stairs at work
Hire yourself (in other words—don’t hire someone to do your chores for you—do them yourself and get some exercise out if it at the same time).
Find something you enjoy doing
Turn off the electronics and do chores manually when possible (shovel the snow, rake the leaves)
Like I said—I’m fairly active during the workday to where I can easily get between 10 to 12,000 steps (and upwards of 15,000 on the really busy days). My issues creep up on the weekend, when I don’t have numerous things schedule to do, or its rainy outside so I can’t go out and do yard work. When I get to doing stuff on the computer, I can lose track of time and it can almost be two or more hours before I realize—hey I haven’t gotten any steps in lately—maybe I should start moving.
One thing that has helped a little during the workweek is having the fitbit alta that sends out reminders ten minutes before the hour if you haven’t reached a certain step goal yet, and how many steps you would need to take to reach it. I deactivated it for the weekends, mainly because I didn’t like it waking me up if I was still sleeping around nine in the morning. But if I’m serious about trying to get my sleep regulated, I may turn it back on and try to march in circles every hour to get some of the steps in.