One of life’s simple pleasures is to fall fast asleep when I first close my eyes with my head resting on the pillow and the covers tucked snugly over my shoulder and under my chin. It is even better when I can then sleep the whole night through with only a sleepy break in the middle of the night. I would like this to happen every night. It is one of my goals. It is a problem that is best solved by listening to my body. It has a daily rhythm it wants to follow. The better I follow this rhythm the more likely I am to sleep well. I switched to running in the evening this summer in an effort to make the day more efficient. It turns out that running in the evening increases the likelihood of a good night’s sleep. I thought it might wake me up too much. It does wake me up for a little while. After running, I take a shower, eat a small amount, wash the dishes, and do the other end of the day tasks. By the time I have finished all that, the alertness from running has worn off leaving me relaxed and pleasantly sleepy. If I have run far enough to counteract the day’s stress and use up my body’s extra energy, then I will fall asleep quickly and sleep well. It seems like my happy distance for running is around 6 miles. Unless it has been an unusually stressful day, it takes about 3 miles to disconnect from the day. Each mile I go beyond the 3 miles, the calm deepens. I rarely do things on purpose these days that I know will disrupt sleep like drinking caffeinated tea or taking a nap. I shut down the computer when I stop the day to stretch before running. I only turn it on again if I want to check on something or write. I am working on training my mind to stop thinking about stressful topics when the day ends. This can be difficult. If I run far enough, though, the running does that for me. Occasionally, like on Monday night, I can’t sleep because of external factors. I was sore on Monday night from the fall and every time I turned over to my left side I woke up. Yesterday was a very tired day as a result. I didn’t try to run last night. I was tired enough that I probably would have tripped over my own two feet. I would like to have at most one night of short sleep a month or even less often. At present, I have a short night of sleep about once a week and sometimes twice a week.
This evening’s run was a little over 6 miles. The temperature swung up again over the last two days. It was 32 degrees at running time with the wind from the south at 20 mph giving a feels-like temperature of 20 degrees. I could tell the wind was gusting to higher speeds. It was a good run. My legs had energy up until around ¾ of a mile from home. This is alright. I want to be tired when I get home. I stayed well away from the icy patch that precipitated Monday’s fall.
Take care and thanks for reading.