Saturday, April 9, 2011

Go For A Run? I'll Sleep On It

I went out for a run this morning and it felt great. OK, no I didn't. I slept all morning and it felt great.

I'm a firm believer in the importance of sleep hygiene. I bet you didn't know the term "sleep hygiene" existed. I didn't until I stumbled upon the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website for sleep and sleep disorders. It's defined as "the promotion of regular sleep." I like my sleep regular. No sugar.

The CDC, citing data from the National Sleep Foundation, recommends seven to nine hours of sleep per day for adults. And this is coming from a federal agency, so I treat the CDC's recommendation very seriously. In fact, I often put in overtime and sleep 10 to 12 hours, just to be safe.

The CDC offers a few important sleep hygiene tips, such as this one: "Avoid physical activity within a few hours of bedtime." So I do. I also avoid physical activity within a few hours after I wake up. Don't want to overdo it in the late morning/early afternoon and cause damage to my health.

Add work into the mix, and that doesn't leave much time in the day for me to go out for a run. I'm not too bothered; there's no fun in running anymore. People approach running as if it is one big competition. Every day I have friends tell me how many miles they ran. "I ran five miles today." "I ran eight miles." "I ran 10 miles." Well, I drove 20 miles today, and I wasn't panting or sweating profusely at any point. So who had the most enjoyable experience?

I'm not trying to downplay the health benefits of running. It's an easy way to exercise. It's just not my preferred method of exercising. I don't know, it just seems to me that there are a lot of runners out there on the streets who aren't happy to be running. They don't smile. They can be kind of mean, actually. Sometimes I'll hear a runner come up from behind me on the sidewalk and yell, "On your right!" And he'll pass me on my right. I don't like the tone of this announcement. It sounds more like, "Get out of my way, I'm moving faster than you and I have headphones on so I'm going to ignore your response!" Who is he to play traffic cop on the sidewalk? I say he should yield to pedestrians who are walking at normal speed.

Since I'm invoking basic traffic rules for runners, I should also point out that it's not necessary to jog in place while waiting to cross a street. There's no health benefit to doing this. Please yield to common sense and personal dignity.

My point is this: I don't run, I sleep. My friends may run more miles than I do, but I sleep more hours than they do. The CDC would be proud.