A long time ago, say ten years ago, I had this idea that sleep was a wasteful activity if you wanted to drop weight, because it's not an active thing. You're lying down, not moving much, not breathing much, etc. I figured you'd be better off to stay up late, especially if you were doing something active (I was never, however, one to go out dancing into the wee hours).
Of course, they (who are they? I don't know) tell me that I was wrong. Sleep is an integral part of life, and lack of sleep does more than give you a bad mood. It fights your weight loss activity (both by making you hungry and by jacking with your metabolism). In fact, a doctor once told me not to exercise if it meant missing sleep. I sort of think I remember reading that lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol also fights your efforts to trim down.
For the last five or six weeks, I have been waking up anywhere from 2am to 4am and then been unable to go back to sleep. (It's possible that I'm dreaming I'm awake or am in some strange light sleep, but it's not flat out unconsciousness.) It's troubling because I know I'm not functioning at my peak. I also tend to fall asleep about 8pm, which can't help. Ambien has only helped sporadically. I have actually taken an Ambien and only been able to sleep for five hours.
Sure the possibility of a psychotic break worries me. But I need all the help I can get to drop the next 20 and then another 20 a few more times. Sleep is a pleasant way to help with the loss. I like working out fine, but wow, sleep rocks.
So that's what's going on here. Trying to sleep, trying to take care of myself appropriately.