Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Insomnia is Killing Me

You'd think that with all my talk of relaxing lately that my sleep would be improving ... not the case at all. In fact, when my sleep broke at 2:40 this morning I told myself 'Don't you dare get out of bed. You will stay in bed until at least 4:30 no matter how anxious you feel.' By 3:15 I still wasn't asleep, and by 3:20 I was crying from exhaustion. I can't explain how upsetting it is.

For the most part, I'm actually fine with waking up early - I figure, if I'm up, then I might as well get out of bed and do something, even if it means just relaxing in the other room. However, I know that with all my working out I need to get more than 3 hours of sleep a night. It's just not healthy. My muscles are achy and tired. At the end of the day, after working out for 3 hours, I.Am.Tired!! Why can't I sleep? And before you ask, I just had quarter cup of coffee at around 7:30 a.m. ... that's not enough to keep me awake for most of the night!

In the end, I did manage to stay in bed until 5 am (a miracle!) but I didn't fall back to sleep and I was tense most of the time.

Right now I'm just hoping for 5 hours -- I think in the meantime I'm going to try and take a long nap in the afternoon. I'll aim for 1.5-2 hours. I have to figure out a way to give my body the rest it needs.

Workouts for the day:
NROL4W Phase 3, Workout B3 (I'm excited that I'm almost done with this phase, it's been a good one, but I can't wait to move on. Next week is the last week for this round of exercises).
Cardio interval training (short, just 20 minutes)
Zumba (more like fun than a workout for me, but that's coz' I love to dance -- I'm still working up a MEGA sweat).

Food on point. Water on point. All I need to do is sleep.


  1. Anonymous8:03 PM

    Hey, I have been having the same issue. Whenever I am doing intense workouts (even if they are in the a.m.) I cannot sleep well. I fall asleep just fine, but start to have a kind of anxiety in my sleep with bad dreams, tossing and turning, etc., then wake up anywhere from midnight to 3 a.m., and can't fall back asleep until maybe 6 a.m. When I stop the workouts, my sleep returns to normal in 1-3 days. I just found a couple of websites indicating that this may be fairly common for people doing the high intensity workouts (intervals, etc.) OR doing significant workouts, especially if the workouts are done when the body is in a state of glycogen depletion (for example, in the morning without eating first). The problem is that if your body is still in a state of glycogen depletion when you try to sleep, the body responds with cortisol and adrenalin, keeping you from deep sleep and waking you up. Apprently it is very easy to get glycogen depletion when you are doing serious workouts, especially if you are losing any weight (and thus running a daily "caloric deficit"). People on an atkins-type diet (or "paleo diet" or whatever) seem to have this issue even more--because they're limiting their carb intake at the same time their body really needs glycogen. Several people tried eating something with significant but healthy carbs (supposedly the "enemy"), such as a grapefruit and some granola, immediately after (within 10 minutes) their high intensity workout, combined with something similar just before bedtime (several indicated tea with HONEY) and found immediate, significant relief. Others found relief doing their workouts within 2-3 hours after a meal (so that they aren't starting their workout already close to depletion), or even eating some carbs just before the workout. In any event, I just found all this today and will give it a try.

    Hope that may help somewhat. You can google "exercise induced insomnia" and "high intensity exercise insomnia" to find some of this, but the threads are a bit sparse...

  2. Anonymous10:25 PM

    Hey Anonymous, thank you for that. I have the same issue. What happens is if I work out with any kind of intensity (HIIT, or even cardio) I have insomnia for 2-3 days afterwards.

    What happens is on nights 1 and 2 I can fall asleep but I am constantly being flooded with adrenaline all night. By night 3 I don't sleep at all and just stay up for 40 hours straight. By the end of day 3 I sleep fine again. I have also noticed that low intensity exercise like walking does not set this condition off.

    So thanks for that info. I hope it is glycogen depletion that is causing it. In order to test that idea I'm going to try doing some exercise where I carb load both before and immediately after exercising, followed by honey before bed. I hope that helps with the condition.

    I've had this condition for a few years, and when I google 'exercise induced insomnia' about 99% of the responses are from people who are using exercise as a treatment for insomnia, not as a cause. I've only seen 3 things on the internet that describe my condition (yours and 2 other internet posts).

  3. Anonymous5:02 AM

    Wow this has been so helpful. I have recently changed my diet to paleo and begun working out 5 times a week.. and im so wide awake and restless at night its awful.
    Before the diet changes all i ate was carbs, and i slept like a baby. My diet consisted of Bread pasta and cereals so it makes sense that my body would be wandering "where r the carbs?" And could def be deficient. Hope upping my GOOD carbs will help...

  4. Anonymous9:34 PM

    I used to have the same condition. It is also listed as "Cardio-induced insomnia." it occurs after high cardio exercise and a depletion of blood sugar levels/ glycogen. After doing research at 5am in the morning in bed due to yet another night of insomnia, I read that it was, indeed due to a lack of carbs. Now, I make sure to eat a full meal with whole wheat/ brown rice carbs within 1 hour after exercise. Should I feel antsy around bedtime, I will eat a slice of toast. It has helped tremendously and I no longer have insomnia!

  5. Anonymous5:59 PM

    Hi there, I have had good luck taking a really good multivitamin for active women (with extra Iron) in the morning, then at 3:00pm I take an "Adrenasmart" vitamin and two magnesium. It keeps me energized throughout the day and makes it so my body doesn't release cortisol. I have suffered with insomnia quite a bit myself and with these vitamins, plus 30-min of HiiT/day, I have been sleeping muuuuuuch better. Also if I do wake, I take 2 regular Tylenol and a Tums or Ovol. I think a lot of my issues are also digestive and it calms my stomach down quite a bit. I drink Stomach Ease tea at night to help as well. I hope this helps!!

  6. Anonymous12:10 AM

    So happy to find this post. I've been looking for personal experience with this issue.

    I couldn't find much on this topic online. And what I have found is just general insomnia advice (meditate, no devices in bedroom, sleep routine, blah blah blah, none of these are issues when I don't exercise).

    My solution up to now for this issue has just been to not exercise. Seriously.

    Now I'll try the carb remedy (probably some honey before and after exercise, and before bed).


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I can use all the support I can get :)