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Day 8: Get More Sleep

Posted Jan 11 2010 2:00am

One week down in the 30-day Challenge! How are you feeling? From some of the comments and some things I’ve heard from people that I personally know (as in, know in real life), clothes are getting looser and people are feeling better in general. Being healthier and being sexier…does it get better than that? How about you?

Challenge Reminders

Just a couple reminders as we venture into week #2 of the challenge here:

  • We will be posting on Mon, Wed, and Fri for the rest of the challenge (not daily).
  • Make sure you report your results from Friday’s workout challenge or what you did instead of the posted workouts.
  • Only one more week of Phase 1 where we got rid of all of the dietary stressors to let your body detox.

Keep up the great work y’all!

Week #2 Addition: Caffeine Is Back!

I like you all and I knew that giving up your caffeine was probably the toughest part of the first week. So I drove down to Atlanta, walked up to Mike’s door, and confronted him about it. I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. After a tense couple minutes of discussion, we had to resort to fisticuffs. The result was similar to this video (I’m the light-colored cat).

Okay, really, from the start, we both knew that caffeine is somewhere around “neutral” in terms of how it affects your body, compared to wheat and sugar. We wanted to urge you to go completely cold turkey for a week to prove that you can live without caffeine and to give your caffeine sensitivity a rest. You left the black gold behind and now know how well (or unwell) you function without it. It’s your call now how to use this knowledge.

So how should you handle this? Here are some tips for keeping your caffeine consumption on the healthy side, taken from my post on caffeine and health.

  • Stick with it a little longer - That’s right…do it even though we aren’t making it part of the Challenge. How’s that for putting the ball in your court? I’m planning to have no caffeine until my Jan 23rd track meet. Can you last longer than that?
  • Drink 50% less than before - A week off from caffeine is long enough to reset your sensitivity. You won’t need as much as before to make your head explode.
  • No caffeine after 11am - You have to give your body time to metabolize the caffeine before you decide to hit the sack. Be done with your joe as early as possible.
  • Note effects on your sleep - After about 3-4 days off of caffeine, I notice that I start sleeping better and waking up more rested. You might have noticed the same thing this past week. Note how you’re feeling after a few days back on the caffeine and determine if it’s affecting you positively or negatively.
  • Cycle it - You don’t have to have it every day even when you do have it. Routinely cycling on and off will allow your body to maintain more sensitivity to it. Many like to use it only on serious workout days for the added boost, so maybe that is your plan going forward.

Sleeping And Health

Today, we’re going to take a look at how sleeping affects your health

homer sleep 300x209 Day 8: Get More Sleep

Sleep is right up there with nutrition in terms of importance. It’s a time for your body to reset, retune, and repair. In fact, I find that sleep, exercise, and nutrition are intertwined. The more/better I sleep, the easier I find it to eat well. The harder I exercise, the better I sleep and the better I sleep, the harder I can exercise. Funny that healthy habits reinforce each other, eh?

How much sleep do you need? 7.5 to 9 hours per night. And that’s just to keep from going further into sleep debt. Most of us actually need more than that if we want to overcome the sleep debt that we’ve racked up by years of burning the candles at both ends. Since most of us have a set endpoint for waking up, courtesy of the alarm clock that screams “Get up and get to work!”, that means you have to go to bed earlier.

Task For The Day: Create A Bedtime Routine

Today, you’re going to create a bedtime routine that you will try to follow most of the rest of the Challenge and beyond. A bedtime routine signals to your brain that it’s time to start winding down and get ready for sleep. Here’s an example of mine…I do something similar to this most every weeknight:

  • 9-9:15 pm - Computer off, brush teeth, clean up and shut off lights around the house
  • 9:15-9:30 pm - Get workout clothes, laptop, etc ready for the next day. Set alarm (for between 6:30 and 7).
  • 9:30-10pm - Read.
  • 10 or before - Lights out!

You can see that gives me about 8.5-9 hours of sleep nightly. Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. But for the most part, I’m sleeping more than 8 hours. So what’s your bedtime routine going to be? (Or what is it, if you already have one?)

One thing to note: the computer and TV need to be off at least 30 minutes before you intend to fall asleep and preferably about an hour before (I don’t always succeed here.) The blue spectrum light put off by the screens interferes with the production of melatonin and keeps you awake. Alarm clocks with blue displays are also bad news. I usually tuck any alarm clocks out of sight just to make the room darker.

Further Reading

The Promise Of Sleep
Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival
Childhood Obesity and Sleep

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