Tag: sleep

Update on the 52 week challenges.

So I’ve realized that with having caught the flu last month and then another week or so getting over the flu, I’m basically back at square one in terms of certain challenges.

For example—this past weekend was the first time I had the alarm set for the weekend in about three weeks, and I actually reset it to where it’s an hour later than when I get up during the week (earlier I had it at forty five minutes). I’m hoping that if I can start getting up “early” on the weekends again, I can get quite a bit of stuff crossed off the agenda lists for the day. This past weekend, it gave me my alone time in the morning before others got up, but it didn’t help in trying to get organized in the whole job hunting/networking maze I need to get started on.

I’ve also realized that I’m including all liquids in terms of my 70oz (this includes the almond milk and both things of tea [morning and night]) instead of counting those as my extra beyond 70oz of water. So this is a problem, to where I think this is one reason why I get a little temperamental at work in the afternoons—I’m slightly dehydrated. That is one drawback about being in research—you can’t have drinks in the lab (mainly because there are people worried that you might accidently poison yourself), so the drinks have to be kept in an office area or common eating area outside of the lab space. This can be problematic when you super busy and you don’t have time to step into the common area to get a drink of water when you want one. So this is something else I’m trying to get back on track with as well.

Now for the update on off the couch challenge—I’m still not that active on the weekends, though now that spring weather is here (more or less), I will be doing some gardening and yard work—so in theory I won’t be totally sitting on my butt during the day. I’ve also realized that when it comes to the job search, I should also take into account the fact that some jobs may be more sitting and staring at a computer screen than others. Basically, if I move away from research (where I could be standing at the bench for awhile [or sitting on a tall chair]), most of the jobs are probably going to be sitting jobs for most of the day. Which means I will have to be creative in figuring out ways to get my steps in.

Also since I have so much computer work to get through—I do need to do it almost one video at a time, get up and move around and then do the next one. I also need to kick myself into gear and just do a workout in the evenings when I get home (whether I feel like doing one or not—I don’t feel like always having to buy new jeans in a slightly larger size).


So in summary—I’ve acknowledged that I’ve slipped backwards on the first three challenges of the 52-week challenge. I’m also acknowledging that I need to make progress on all three of them before adding any other challenge to mix. In addition I’ve also realized that I need to just keep making baby steps in the forward direction—if I have an off day, I need to make sure that I’m not letting that slide into an off week, then an off month and so on.

Baby steps can lead to success–one just has to keep moving in that direction. Everyone is on their own journey that will lead them to their destination. My destination may not be the same as yours, and that is okay. One just has to remember that everyone is different and unique.


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Update on the off the couch challenge (and briefly the sleep challenge as well)

So we’re on the second weekend of me getting up at a set time (with an alarm), we’ll see how tomorrow goes. So I’m getting closer to getting a set sleep schedule set up, it may just take a couple more months before I’m getting up at the same time daily.

As for the off the couch challenge I’ve realized two things: 1) I’m fairly active during the day at work (for the most part), to where I’m getting at least 250 steps an hour [fitbit tracker], but 2) I’m not that active on the weekends—I’m trying to play catch up on stuff on the computer, so I’m sitting on my butt more than I’m moving. Plus the weather is getting nice, so I really just want to sit outside and soak up some vitamin D. So I’m going to have to come up with ways to combat my sitting on my butt during the day on the weekend (and I do realize that there may have to be an alternative plan in case it is raining out).

Today for example, I took the three dogs (one at a time) for a walk around the block before and/or after dinner. This allowed for me to give them some brief exercise and for me to get some of my steps in (I’m slowly getting tired of marching in place to movies). Tomorrow I may try to do the same thing, but maybe spread out through the day [to where the dogs may get multiple walks]. Also during the week (depending on where I’m at step wise), maybe I’ll walk the dogs before or after dinner as well to get the steps in and get some additional exercise. Though I may also try to do some more yard work (weather permitting) to also be up and moving around.

I also need to charge my iPod again, that way I can also just dance around the bedroom and get some exercise in that way as well.

I’m thinking with the computer work, since there are numerous videos to watch in these different modules, that after each one I may march in place for fifteen minutes (or straighten something up), to get the blood flowing again before sitting back down and doing more computer work.

Other ways of getting my steps (and getting off the “couch”)—using a smaller glass/mug for water [therefore I will have to refill it more often]; folding the clothes out in the laundry room [instead of carrying the basket back to my room]; and using the kitchen sink to fill the container that I use to refill my aquarium [slightly longer distance=more steps].

This is about the time of year that I slowly start fading on my step goals, due to the weather getting so nice, and me just wanting to sit outside and watch the birds. I know that there are numerous ways to get my steps in on the weekend that aren’t just watching a movie and marching in place, I just need to figure out which one(s) I can consistently do, and do them.

No Comments Personal DevelopmentPersonal Development Challenges

Update on the Sleep Challenge, and starting the “Stay off the couch” challenge

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.

Alarm clock, I should almost get an old fashion one instead of using my iPhone

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.

Different ways of getting active (playing sports, walking the dog, walking on the lunch hour, walking to for the errands, or just having fun)

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)

Floor exercises

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.

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Update on week 2 of the personal development challenge: Getting enough sleep

Getting a good night sleep is something so essential that most of us aren’t getting enough of it. It’s said that adults need somewhere between seven to nine hours of sleep a night, and that number varies then for babies, young children, and even teenagers. [Though personally, I think teenagers could survive on seven to nine hours of sleep as well. It’s simple—rules and structure—homework is done before say eight at night, their phone turned off [and taken away if needed]—buy them a good old fashion alarm clock to wake them in the morning; and if needed take away all power cords for any electronic that they could think of playing with—in other words bore them to bed].

Alarm clock

So the week two challenge is trying to make sure that I’m getting enough sleep (ideally seven to seven and a half hours) daily. I also realized that this challenge is going to take a little bit longer to get control of compared to the week one challenge (drinking enough water), so I decided to try to give myself a month (more or less) to at least get a grasp on my current sleep schedule and try to figure out how to get it on a schedule. Read More

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Week Two (or month one) of the 52 week challenge–Getting enough sleep

So I mentioned earlier how I was going back and redoing the 52 week challenge that was based off of the book 52 small changes: one year to a happier, healthier you by Brett Blumenthal.

Basically her book has 52 shortish chapters detailing a different type challenge for the week. These challenges cover areas such as diet and nutrition, fitness and prevention, mental well-being, and green living. While the title of book states 52 weeks (aka 1 year), the author notes “the amount of time required to make lasting change is highly individualistic and depends on the person, the change, and the circumstances.”

I have the first challenge pretty well under control. That particular challenge is to make sure that you are drinking enough water every day. My liquid intake usually is water, tea (caffeinated in the morning, and herbal at night), and almond milk.  Lately I will admit to grabbing a mocha on campus to get my caffeine in (also its been chilly and I didn’t feel like making a mug of tea before I left the house). So if I add in the tea to my water tally, I’m usually somewhere between 85 and over 100oz of water a day (my morning tea is usually a dilute [1 tea bag per 20oz] mug).

The second week challenge is going to be a little more difficult. The second week challenge is making sure you get enough sleep. The difficulty for me is going to be making sure that I’m getting roughly the same amount of sleep every night. So (to digress a little), back in November the battery to my fitbit zip died, and I couldn’t find the little piece of plastic you need to open the back and change the battery. So I decided that I would order an new one, except for the fact that they weren’t in stock. So I decided to upgrade and I got myself an fitbit alta. This new fitness tracker also monitors the amount of sleep I get every night as well.

This has helped me to slowly start tracking my sleeping patterns. The main one that sticks out is the fact that on the weekends I’m getting almost ten hours of sleep (going to bed at roughly the same time, but getting up almost three hours later), whereas during the week I’m lucky with seven (which is my goal).

I know that it is recommended that you go to bed and get up at the same time every day.  My only problem with that is I get up at quarter to six because I’m not really a morning person, and I need time to wake up before having to deal with people; and while that would give me quiet time in the morning on the weekend–I kind of like sleeping until almost nine in the morning.

One reason they suggest for that is due to the thought that sleeping in can make you even more tired (which I can agree with slightly–I have found myself yawning in the afternoon [and I know that there is no reason for it]).

So I’m going to treat this week two challenge as it is an monthly challenge, and here are the things I’m going to do to try to ensure that I start getting better night sleeps:

1. Look at the fitbit sleep data and try to see if there are any similar times that I’m tossing and turning (or awake), and can I determine why?

2. Make sure that I’m working out after work, but before dinner (this way it is a good four hours or so before bed).

3. Log all foods (especially afternoon & any evening snacks) to make sure that they aren’t messing with my sleep schedule.

4. Try to finish my evening decaf herbal tea hopefully by 8:30 at night; this is cutting it close to suggested cut-off time for liquids, but that is only because of the time I go to bed at night.

5. Finally, decide when to try to start going to bed & getting up at the time daily.

I know that the combination of all five of these things will help me get my sleep schedule straightened out, but I also know that the hardest one will be number five—I enjoy sleeping in on the weekends, and I also know that it will be a hard habit to break. That alone is why I’m figuring that this challenge will take me almost a month to ensure that I’m getting the same amount of sleep daily.

What are some of the things you do to try to make sure that you get a good night sleep?

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