CBT: The Exercise

It’s been over a week and a half since my last post, where I mentioned it was time to start doing some exercise. It only seemed logical to exercise as a means to get myself exhausted and fall asleep quickly.

About a week ago I started jogging in the evenings with my out-of-shape dog Boxy. She’s a 3 year old English Bulldog who enjoys chewing on everything that comes across her, while still brilliantly and gracefully managing to avoid any unnecessary movement. I figured it would be helpful for an overweight dog and an insomniac to go jogging together. I know that bulldogs aren’t the best jogging companions as they are not built for this type of exercise (or any other exercise), but we’re talking about short-distance running. Very short. 1 kilometre.

It took me over 7 minutes to complete, and I had to stop to catch my breath a few times. Boxy? for a lazy bulldog she did alright and was panting heavily in the end as she did when I woke her up to go.

She slept well, I didn’t.

The shower dilemma

After my first run, there was one thing my mind struggled to solve on its own – the shower issue. While exercise is set to exhaust you, a good shower makes you feel alert and vigorous. How can you solve this problem? No, showering before running is not the right answer, although I thought it over for a while. My solution – hot baths; the ones I bitched about the other post? They get you clean AND relaxed! But, as I said before, it didn’t help me sleep.

Keep on running

I was reading in many online sites that regular exercise can improve your sleep quality and duration, but (and here’s something new) you shouldn’t do it right before bedtime as it has a stimulant effect on the body. It was also suggested that exercise should be done at least 3 hours prior to your bedtime. Sounds crazy and illogical, but I’m a man on a mission and I do try the follow what every insomnia forum and article in the world has to say!

In the following days I kept on running my very-long-distance 1 kilometre route. I believe that eventually I managed to handle a 1.5km run, but I’m not sure about it. Boxy quickly learned that an Under Armour shirt combined with a pair of Asics runners means jogging. Needless to say she was reluctant to join me; one has to admire Pavlov’s classical conditioning when it occurs right in front of you.

Hope

Last Tuesday it finally happened. I fell asleep at a normal hour (I think it was around 10:30 pm) and slept for hours over hours. 2.5 hours to be exact. Then I was back to my normal insomniac self, but it’s given me some hope that things can change for the better and that I wasn’t doomed to live like a computer-addicted Japanese teenager.

The next day I was heading towards Hervey Bay, as part of my plan to spend the weekend with a 3 other mates on Fraser Island, which I haven’t been to for over 10 years! It was great, but I’ll write more about it in my next post, reducing the risk of boring you to death right now.

-T

You are not an insomniac! (you’re just a nighttime philosopher)
Leslie Dean Brown (Too much credit for my nighttime nonsense.)