Last summer I decided to address some sleeping issues that I’ve suffered from for a long time. I rarely woke up feeling rested, and many times felt more tired when I woke up that I did when I went to bed the night before. I undertook a sleep study, and confirmed what I had suspected for a while – I was suffering from sleep apnea. Not only that, but the doctor who looked over my results said it was about as bad a case as he’d ever seen. At one point during the night I went 90 seconds without taking a breath. I can’t even hold my breath for 40 seconds while conscious. I got a CPAP machine, and that drastically improved my sleep I once again felt energized in the morning, and found I could needed less sleep every night. Replacing our 12 year old (or more) mattress with a Tempur-Pedic system also helped.
Like many people I know, I made a resolution at the beginning of the year, as I have also done in years past. There was a single goal – to get healthier. I went and found a number of general articles on improving your heath, and many advocated making three changes. Why three? I couldn’t find any specific reason, but suspect that by starting modestly and not too ambitiously, you are more likely to succeed. So these are my three things:
- I only had one firm idea about where to start – joining the 365 In 2011 Challenge organized by some friends and friends of friends on Facebook. The goal was simple enough – to average a mile a day over the course of the year. I started off just doing a mile, and slowly increased it, working up to where I could do up to five miles in a single session, with one two-session day for a total of nine miles. Today is day 99 of the challenge, and I’ve logged over 240 miles. Not bad. Marie joined in, too, though she tends to walk a lot at the mall when she’s in town. I started taking Poochie along whenever I walk around the neighborhood, and he’s racked up 76 miles in 45 days. Most mornings he’s waiting by the door when we get up, and we can see the disappointment on his face when I leave the house and don’t go straight for his leash. If I do, he jumps up and down like a pup.
- The second change was inspired by a bout of abdominal discomfort that lasted a week early in the year. I had been drinking a ridiculous amount of soda every day–usually on an empty stomach–and knew that had to end. Soda was replaced with water flavored by lemon slices. I still drinking a little soda, almost always with a meal, and never more than one can or small bottle per day.
- My “third thing” was simple. Stop buying chips and candy for snacks at work. Instead, I keep a stash of apple and oranges in the office refrigerator. I don’t miss the junk snacks at all.
I haven’t felt this good in years, and goes to show that it’s never too late to start making a positive change for the good of your health.