The Cold Penguin

expanding the box

The need for sleep

on November 2, 2013

When I was younger, I got by with very little sleep.  In fact, I hated to sleep.  But my junior year in college, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroiditis.  Basically, a virus was attacking my thyroid gland and causing it to be overactive.  In many people, this gives them tons of energy because the thyroid hormones cause your body to go-go-go.  But in my body, the constant go-go-go resulted in sheer exhaustion.  I was nearly neuroleptic.  I could not get enough sleep.  And even though the virus ran its course and my thyroid returned to normal functioning, I still have a lot of fatigue.

I found out recently that I have a few non-major cardiac conditions that contribute to this fatigue, but I really feel like it all started with my thyroid issues.

This morning, a man decided to vandalize a garden across the street from us.  He was screaming at the top of his lungs at 6am while doing this.  We got up and carefully checked things out from the security of our home, called the police, and waited until he eventually had enough destruction and walked away.  Unfortunately the police showed up just a few minutes after he bolted.  But nonetheless, the husband and I were up for the morning at 6am on a Saturday, not what we had planned when we stayed up late last night watching re-runs of Modern Family.

So I’m in a sleepy fog today and man are my sugar and caffeine cravings sky-high!  I was in the leftover Halloween candy jar three times before noon and my caffeine count is already at my normal intake for a whole day.  My body is definitely craving a quick fix for energy, which is all that sugar and caffeine are.  Quick fixes.  They give you a boost of energy that is short-lived, then you crash, and again crave sugar and caffeine.  Vicious cycle and one that many of us get caught up in.

tired eating

So now, at 1:30pm, I’m going to fight my cravings and go with my normal routine.  It’s funny that the exact opposite of what you want to do is actually what is best for you when you are fighting daytime sleepiness.

The best bet for more energy?  Drink some water – hydration is great for energy, and get active!  Exercise not only helps stabilize our blood sugar, helping keep those sugar cravings at bay, but it also increases those feel-good hormones (aka the exercise high!).  So the next time you are tired, try having a nice cold glass of water and go for a brisk walk or jog!  That should help you fight the urge to behave badly due to lack of sleep!

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