Meg’s BCCC Goal.
Don’t forget, the CFCC BCCC starts this week! If you’re a CFCC’er who’s interested in participating, all the details are here. If you missed our nutrition seminar last week, notes will be posted today!
I can remember a brief, shining span of time in my life when my sleep was ON POINT. The alarm went off at 5:20, I rolled out of bed, threw on my clothes, gulped my BCAAs and hit CFCC at 6am, went about my business (this was before CFCC was my full-time business), came home, ate dinner, and was in bed pretty religiously by 10pm and slept like the dead til the alarm went off the next morning.
Between then and now, something happened, and I’m not sure precisely what change in my life triggered this – but my sleep has become a sad, fractured afterthought on my list of priorities. I can think of at least 5 times in the past few weeks that I’ve woken at 3am, mind racing, unable to fall back asleep for hours. As I said, I can’t pinpoint one particular thing I’m doing wrong, but there are a few things that I suspect (and yep, this is a confession that even the people that are supposed to be “good at this” aren’t always so good at this!)
The funny thing about using the BCCC to fix my sleep (rather than focus on body composition as my top priority this time around)? All the habits that contribute to improved sleep should also contribute to optimal body composition, performance and recovery. Funny how everything is connected, right?
1. Too much screen time late into the night.
Yep – this happens. Whether it’s catching up on work after work, catching up on blog posts and studies in my VERY LONG backlog of Stuff to Read, or mindless Netflix-ing, I definitely have my face buried in a screen (aka blue light in my eyes) much later than I should to achieve optimal sleep.
NEW HABIT: Commit to no screens after 8pm. If I need to unwind, I’ll read a paper book (not the Kindle) or go for a long easy walk.
2. Too little natural light during the day.
This is sort of the evil converse of my first issue – I’m definitely not getting outside enough during the day (I love CFCC, but we definitely lack natural sunlight!) Right now, the signals my body is receiving are OPPOSITE of what it’s designed to thrive best on. It’s getting no sunlight during daytime and artificial sunlight at night. No wonder my brain thinks 3am is time for the wakeup call – color me confused.
NEW HABIT: Get my face in the sunlight as often as possible throughout the day, even if it means setting a timer to make me take 10 minute walk breaks throughout the day. I’m committing to a long morning walk as well, which is easy to do if I plan my commute accordingly.
3. Sleeping in a room that’s too bright.
I’ll blame this to settling in to a new apartment, because I had this pretty set in my last place – but there are all sorts of insidious little lights in my bedroom at night. The lights outside the apartment are still shining through the blinds and the curtains I bought, and my router, smoke alarm, air conditioner and alarm clock are STILL glowing in my face despite desperate attempts to throw towels over everything. The iPhone, to my credit, is face DOWN on my night table, but it really doesn’t belong there at all.
NEW HABIT: This isn’t really a habit as much as an intent to prioritize this project. Small pieces of duct tape over the little green lights, a towel over the alarm clock, and the phone is going under the bed. I’m also going to figure out a window darkening solution that isn’t hideous, but gets the job done.
4. “Triage” eating instead of eating with intention.
Yep, this happens and this is why I, too, am glad the BCCC happens three times each year, because it’s the perfect excuse for me to re-examine some of the things that manage to sneak in small amounts over time. The quality of my food has been decent/meh, but I’ve definitely spent the last month or so eating for convenience during my very rushed packing and moving (and, of course, to explore the restaurants in my new neighborhood). Long, busy days at the gym mean sometimes I go WAY too long without eating – not that it’s inherently bad to miss a meal every now and then but intentional intermittent fasting requires planning to ensure sufficient calories and this, my friends, is not intentional.
NEW HABIT: Return to meal planning, cooking and packing my own food. Limit meals out to one per week (better for my bank account, too). Recommit to avoiding/limiting the things that I don’t digest well (gluten, seed oils, and excess dairy).
5. Stress levels are too high.
Making the decision to pack and move from a 3 bedroom house to a one bedroom apartment in two weeks. All the usual summer craziness at CFCC, aka “work stress”. These are what most people think of when they’re trying to define what stresses them out, but I’m guessing that those big “normal” stressors, combined with the low level constant physiological stress caused by everything mentioned above means that my body is currently riding a vicious cycle.
NEW HABIT: Chill. Meditate before bed? See above plan for long walks.
OVERALL: Come back to being more aware of tracking things. My Jawbone Up gives me a good readout of what my sleep looks like each night, and I’ll use that to track improvements over the course of the month. I’ll also be better about logging my food, my training and my general feelings to see what is connected to what and if anything in particular triggers insomnia.
Here’s to another BCCC and, as usual, feeling A LOT better in thirty days!