Counting steps in my sleep - not sheep | Opinion

By Tyla Harrington

For the first time in my life I wish I was a sleepwalker.

This sudden realisation came to me on my 9447th step (yes, exactly) Sunday night while walking laps around my kitchen, in a figure eight, so I wouldn’t fall asleep.

Yes, I have started the Team Get Mooving Challenge, which requires 10 000 steps daily.

And yes, I am making every step count. Even if that means it’s making me a little crazy — and Sunday was a good case in point.

I’ve never really thought much about steps — until now, culminating with me dreaming about becoming a sleepwalker while I almost fell asleep walking laps inside my warm home.

Suffice to say, it almost came true.

The thing is, walking doesn’t involve that much effort. Walking in the home while listening to an audio book involves even less.

One thousand steps would be achievable but 3000 is pushing the boundaries.

You might be wondering why I didn’t just walk outside. Right now, I am wondering that too. But I hate the cold and have a vivid imagination that can put me in the middle of a horror movie quicker than you can say Friday the 13th.

Usually I am awake enough to push the imagination aside and bite the bullet, so to speak, but I was too tired on Sunday and so walked inside instead.

Which, if you haven’t figured it out by now, is unbelievably boring. I knew it would be, too, which I guess is why I decided to do it in figure eights (around the kitchen bench and the kitchen table), so that I wouldn’t fall asleep.

The problem with that was, it felt as though I was being rocked — soothed to sleep. Thank goodness I reached 10 000 before my eyes closed and proper sleep overcame me.

Even my dog, who has more energy than any puppy I’ve met, decided to give up when I reached about 9600.

He’s not the only one who thinks I’m getting a bit carried away. I’ve had a few people tell me I am going crazy and that I should just make it up or shake my hand to fake the steps.

But I’ve never been very good at lying and the guilt of making up steps would make me double the step count and 20 000 steps daily without being a sleepwalker really doesn’t seem possible right now.

At the moment, I am sitting on 5935 steps, guzzling water so that I can walk to the canteen to fill my bottle and add another 30 steps or so.

I am also considering walking home from work so that I force myself to get a few more steps in and so that I don’t have to walk after dinner when all I’d rather do is sit back and relax.

But even when my mind’s relaxing, it’s thinking: steps, steps, steps. It’s consuming me.

I’ve even resorted to Googling exactly what it takes to become a sleepwalker — and let me tell you, it’s not possible without a lot of sacrifice.

Apparently if you have a full bladder, don’t sleep well, drink a lot of alcohol, take medication, travel a lot or sleep in a noisy environment you’re more likely to sleepwalk.

I’m not that committed to the cause but I have found myself reminiscing about my younger years when I did, according to my parents, take the occasional stroll with my eyes closed.

I wasn’t the spooky sleepwalker who looks possessed, they said. Just a little tacker who would wake in the middle of the night and go for a walk with my blanket in one hand and ted in the other.

I had a healthy lifestyle but I was scared of the dark, had an irrational fear of ghosts, and didn’t like sleeping.

How many steps I managed on any given night, remains a mystery. 100? 200? 300? It’s anyone’s guess.

These days I do like sleeping and am I’m pretty good at it.

And while I’m not so committed that I would compromise my health seven days a week for the sake of a couple of hundred steps, I am willing to sacrifice one or two nights. Possibly three.

Because, like I said, every step counts.