Since the beginning of February, I have been on a mission for rest, that I call “SLEEP QUEST 2013″. There have been some interruptions to SLEEP QUEST along the way, but for the most part I have been consistently sleeping 8+ hours per night for the last 10 weeks. Before I tackled my SLEEP QUEST, I was eating Paleo, CrossFitting 4 or more times per week, doing my mobility work – basically all of the things I thought I needed to do in order to become a bad-ass. However, I wasn’t feeling balanced; something was off and I could tell because I was feeling crabby, hungry and weak all the time.
Then I started SLEEP QUEST and I will never look back. Here are the rules I set for myself:
- 8 + hours of sleep per night, 7 days per week
- No food 2 hours before bed
- No screens 1 hour before bed (set your phone alarm before sleep time)
- No caffeine after 11 am (later I also limited myself to only 1 cup per day)
- Dim all home lights after sunset
Many people have asked me about my quest, and when I tell them the rules, the first response I get is a lot of excuses. “But Hannah, I have to be on my Ipad because I, well… it’s really important that I check facebook”, “I can’t go to bed at 9 pm because I have to watch American Idol”, or my personal favorite “I have to drink coffee in the afternoon because I get so sleepy”.
TRY IT! I swear you will notice a major difference in the way you feel, look and interact with the world around you. Here are some major changes I have noticed in myself since the dawn of SLEEP QUEST:
- Improved mood. Sleeping increases melatonin, which is probably the only reason I didn’t break anything during our lovely April blizzard.
- Weight loss. Sleeping more = hungry less = weight loss. I like that equation because it’s all equal signs.
- Bye-bye sugar cravings. Sleeping more increases glucose effectiveness in the body, meaning I have become more glucose tolerant, and don’t have as many teeth-gnashing, midday (late night, early morning) cravings for cookies.
- Less stress. The more you sleep, the better your cortisol balance becomes. Sleeping more means my body has learned to actually taper off my stress hormones at night so I no longer get a “second wind” at 2 am.
- PR’s all over the place. Sleeplessness impairs motor function, and can even cause you to overestimate your abilities (“I bet I could push press that…”). Since I have started SLEEP QUEST I had a 40# Deadlift PR, 55# OH squat PR, got my first string of chest-to-bar pullups, and in general have increased my overall bad-assery in the gym.
You work hard, don’t you deserve some sleep? What’s preventing you from taking your own SLEEP QUEST?