|Posted on November 30, 2010 at 6:05 PM|
1 December 2010
The last couple of months have been difficult in terms of adhering to my intent. I have had to contend with bugs going round, family members not being well and a million other little things. What delights me is that over this time my weight has remained stable despite the slacking off in the exercise department. However, without the exercise I find my back starts grumbling. That sensitive area remains with me and managing it is an ongoing task.
I am truly grateful for what the Callanetics exercises have taught me in terms of posture. One of the off-shoots of that is that I have finally pinpointed what exactly starts my excruciating three-day tension headaches. I had always thought it was related to jaw-clenching, until I started stretching my spine and then gently lowering my chin for a good neck stretch, and found virtually instant relief. It turns out the headaches are caused by rounding my shoulders and poking my chin out in the posture that leads to “military neck” – a loss of the natural curve of the cervical spine. It’s a slump I am particularly prone to when I am over-tired. Stretching up from the crown of my head and gently lowering my chin eases out the muscles at the back of my neck that tighten up with that sort of bad posture. It brings my chin back in, and allows me to restore the curve I am meant to have in my neck, that allows for correct support of the head. What a joy to be able to scotch a mean headache that usually only responds to large doses of painkillers and sleep after three days!
So, what of the road ahead? The next thing to look forward to is a cousin’s wedding next year. That gives me a goal to aim for. Between now and then, I have the challenge of continuing what I have begun following these past two months of not being able to do all I wanted to do.
Part of being a warrior is developing the ability to identify and then study the enemy. One of the greatest enemies to the better health I am aiming for is over-tiredness. In some ways this can’t be helped. Work takes its toll. So do family commitments. However, nothing takes its toll quite like my own thought patterns. I resent not being awake to enjoy doing what I want to do when I am at home. I resent using the time that I should be present and available to my family to catch up on sleep. At the same time, I need a certain amount of overtime for the money, and to keep some time-in-lieu hours available for emergencies, over and above my annual leave and rostered-day-off allowances. It’s a tightrope. Sometimes I can’t say no to overtime as doing so would seriously disrupt surgical cases that need to be finished. I find the resentfulness gets in the way of clear decision-making when I’m overtired. I end up resenting the need to sleep. My resentful thought patterns become the enemy that makes everything else more difficult to achieve.
There have been studies done…
Spiegel, K. Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function. The Lancet. October 23, 1999. 354:1435-1439.
Spiegel, K. et al. Brief Communication: Sleep Curtailment in Healthy Young Men Is Associated with Decreased Leptin Levels, Elevated Ghrelin Levels, and Increased Hunger and Appetite. Annals of Internal Medicine. December 7, 2004. 141:846-851.
Taheri, S. Sleep and metabolism: Bringing pieces of the jigsaw together. Sleep Medicine Reviews. 2007. 11:159-162.
Taheri, S. et al. Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index (BMI). Sleep. 2004. 27:146-147.
Vorona, R. et al. Overweight and Obese Patients in a Primary Care Population Report Less Sleep Than Patients With a Normal Body Mass Index. Archives of Internal Medicine. Jan 10, 2005. 165:25-30.
…that link obesity and insufficient sleep. I note that one of the points made is that staying awake beyond midnight is part of the problem. Too little sleep upsets the body’s natural rhythms and biological processes. I can’t force myself to go to bed earlier in one step. I have become accustomed to going to bed late. What I can do, is take a first step, and focus on going to bed – lights out and not reading – before midnight, and that is what I shall do. It isn’t easy when I finish work at 9pm or later, but it can be done more often than not.
And so, on with the good fight!
Categories: The Warrior Within Me