Recently, I have found myself pondering some of life’s small, yet troubling mysteries. I’ve just finished doing the laundry, and you’ve read the title, so you already know where I am going to start. You guessed it,
What in the heck happened to my other sock?
Since we’ve retired, my husband and I have both lost many socks (a total first-world problem, I know). But seriously, where have they gone? We are both reasonably good housekeepers, so we didn’t accidentally leave one in between the couch cushions or lurking behind the clothes hamper. We didn’t just get half-dressed one day and wear a single sock home from the gym, and, unless they were covered in cheese, it is highly unlikely that our dog ate them. Although, according to the Inquisitr, 43 socks were once found inside the stomach of a Great Dane (note to all animal lovers: the dog has since fully recovered). This is an age-old question, with a broad range of answers ranging from Jerry Seinfeld’s classic stand-up to innovative websites exclusively dedicated to swingin’ singles socks. According to less tongue-in-cheek publications, with reduced flair for drama, if nowhere else in the house, your missing socks are likely caught somewhere in the depths of your inner washer/dryer (e.g. the gap between the washer tub and the drum, or in your dryer’s vent ducting). But please do not tell Richard this or our washer and dryer will be in pieces on the laundry room floor–he loves his socks!
Why am I more hungry after eating breakfast than when I skip it?
How many times have you been told about the importance of eating a good breakfast? The long-standing belief has been that breakfast gives you energy, provides essential nutrients, stimulates metabolism, boosts alertness, yadda, yadda, yadda (source). While I’ve been a long-time believer in breakfast, it seems a bit counter-intuitive that I am still hungry after eating a morning meal, and not hungry at all when going without. When I decline breakfast, due to 9 am yoga, I can easily forget about food until noon. When I do eat breakfast, more often than not, I find myself ravenous by mid-morning. It turns out that on their own, or in the wrong combinations, some foods like toast, bagels, muffins, juice and several fruits and cereals, can cause a spike, then subsequent drop, in blood sugar levels which send your body a signal that it is time to eat again (source). To counteract this, nutritionists recommend a high fiber, highly satisfying morning meal (think whole grain plus fat/protein) and experimenting with a smaller lunch or smaller dinner (source). However, it doesn’t end there. Many recent research studies now claim that the earlier research was observational, meaning that yes, breakfast eaters were often found to be healthier, but not necessarily because of when they ate their first meal of the day (source). Still others swear by skipping breakfast, citing research findings that claim breakfast does not manage blood sugar, does not increase metabolism, nor prevent muscle breakdown and confirming that breakfast can make you hungrier afterwards (source). This latter group often lists intermittent fasting as one reason for skipping breakfast and argues that this type of fasting not only reduces calorie intake and contributes to weight loss but also improves metabolic health, cardiovascular function, and blood glucose levels (source, source). I definitely discovered more than I was looking for here. At least now I can feel a bit less guilty, and understand why I am often less hungry when skipping a morning meal.
How can I possibly be more tired after a longer sleep?
In my career life, I mostly survived on five or six hours of sleep per work night, with a few slightly longer catch up nights on weekends. Since I’ve retired, I have been striving for a nightly eight-hour sleep (which honestly is hit and miss). What I have noticed is that on nights that I sleep longer, I am not always more refreshed…sometimes, much less so. This totally does not make sense, nor seem remotely fair. Thus, I’ve added it to my life’s (presently) unsolved mysteries.
According to sleep experts, one reason you may feel poorly refreshed after a longer sleep is that your internal clock has come out of balance with the external clock, similar to jet lag (source).
Our sleep takes place in cycles. Each sleep cycle is approximately 90 minutes long—give or take—and the average person has roughly five sleep cycles per night. When you sleep in, you often get woken up mid-cycle. If you wake up from your deep sleep, or REM, you can feel more tired and groggy upon awakening (source).
Recommendations to help keep your body clock on-track include: (1) Expose yourself to bright morning light, and engage in physical activity as early as possible (which are also common cures for jet-lag). (2) Regularly go to bed, and wake-up at roughly the same time each day, including weekends and holidays (yeah, right, next…). (3) Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and computer work immediately prior to bedtime as all three can keep you out of a deep sleep in the early part of your sleep cycle. Then your body may try making up for this much later when it is actually time to wake up. Hmmm, maybe advice number two was not so bad after all (source, source)!
Have a life’s little mystery of your own? Please share it here.