One of my biggest struggles with balance has always been the delicate balance between sleeping and waking.
For a long time, I’ve called myself an insomniac. I get these waves of anxiety late in the evening, thinking about all of the things I didn’t get done during the day, and it’s hard for me to relax and walk into the bedroom. Once I lay down, I usually fall asleep pretty quickly, but I wake up four or five (or ten) times a night from noises, extremely vivid nightmares, or just because I’m not sleeping as deeply as I ought to. When I wake up in the morning, I’m sore from tossing and turning, and almost never feel well rested.
I tell you all of this, because I want you to understand what it means when I tell you that something amazing happened to me this week.
On Wednesday afternoon, I took a nap.
I haven’t taken a nap since my senior year of college, when my only Friday class was at 11:00 am. I would stay out partying Thursday night, drag myself to class, and then come home and crash on the couch, usually with the windows open and a cat snuggled in beside me. Ah…college.
For those of you following along at home, Wednesday was another day with my personal trainer. It was my first serious day; I started off my session by running a mile while going over paperwork, and then spent the next 45 minutes doing a grueling weight training circuit that involved lots of free weights, balance balls, and a bosu. I did push-ups for the first time since high school, I balanced on one foot while doing dead lifts and flies, and I finished doing the biggest step up exercise I’ve ever done (from the floor to a workout bench, balance on one foot, and do a curl with the pair of 8 pound weights I was holding).
It was kind of a rush. Cardio may be a little bit boring, but strength training is varied, it’s fun, and it’s sort of awesome to push yourself like that.
So when I dragged myself back up to my apartment, I had a couple glasses of water, lunch, and worked for a couple of hours, and then really started paying attention to how I was feeling. The sensation of being drowsy was almost strange to me…even now, when I go to sleep, there’s never really a drowsy feeling. It’s awake one minute and asleep the next.
At about 4:30, I set an alarm for 45 minutes, and crawled into my bed (left the windows shut, but I did have a pair of cats eager to join me for nap time). And I woke up feeling rested and refreshed and completely shocked. I felt energized for the rest of the evening, and was able to work for several more hours, clean the kitchen, and make supper.
I can’t imagine that I’ll have the time (or desire) to take a nap every day, but it’s nice to realize that my body can feel sleepy, and I can still recognize those signals. I thought they were gone. Score a point for working out!
Have you guys had any fun or unexpected side effects from exercise?