Last month I encouraged you to work on your pullups (and hopefully pushups) and those of you that did remarked on the improvements you saw from regularly hitting those simple movements. This mid-April challenge is a different kind of task, and one that many of you likely overlook. We trainers stress the importance of three things to complement the work you do in the gym — nutrition, recovery (aka mobilization) and sleep. It’s a bit sad that sleep tends to be one of the most neglected items on the list.
You should be striving to get somewhere between 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. As I posted before, your body actually operates in sleep cycles, which tend to be roughly 90 minutes long. Due to this, that 7 to 9 hour suggestion actually works out to 7.5 or 9 hours, depending on whether you can sneak in an extra cycle. Added benefit: when you are getting enough sleep, you will be able to wake before your alarm and not suffer that early morning extreme grogginess.
Back in June 2010, Ruth threw out a sleep challenge in the comments section of that month’s “official” challenge. Sure, all of you (hopefully!) sleep every night, but we’re going for quality in addition to quantity. This time around I want to make a few specific rules to give you all guidelines to follow:
Now I’m sure some may scoff at a “sleep challenge”, thinking it’s the easiest thing in the world. For those, I have a special bonus challenge, based on my Red Lights post — no electronics for an hour before bed. It’s not as tough as it sounds, but for some of you, cutting the cord (literally) is like kicking an addiction. For the bonus challenge, pick your bed time and an hour before, light some candles or an oil lamp. Turn off any computers, TVs and especially smartphones. Take that hour to unwind before you sleep. Do some long-neglected mobility or rolling, meditate or just reflect on your goals. Depending on the candlepower, you might even be able to read (no, it won’t kill your eyesight). You will be surprised how much more easily you will drift off to sleep and how much deeper your sleep can be. For every night you add this to the mix, make sure to notate it on your sleep log. Sounds too tough? Then just stick to the main challenge.
Because I feel this is an important (and oft neglected) facet of your overall health, I’m going to kick in for a small prize for the “winners” (four overall). I won’t state the specific categories just yet — to avoid any gaming, intentional or otherwise. Got questions? You know what to do!
Participants So Far