Sleep to Dream
Well, I did it.
Thirty-three days ago, I embarked on an adventure in eating. I took on the Whole30, a program designed to help you test for food sensitivities, clean up your diet, and break the addiction to sugar that shows up as that square of chocolate you simply must have each night before bed.
I'm really proud of myself for sticking it out for 30 days, and I'm really proud of my accountabilibuddy, Erin, for sticking it out too. I'm proud of my friend Claire who, two weeks later, joined us on the journey.
And that's all I feel the need to say about the Whole30 at the moment.
What's more interesting to me is the other challenge I embarked upon (and ultimately failed at) in those same 30 days. I decided to get a good night's sleep- 8 hours in my world- every single night.
The results were pretty incredible. I made some tough choices during the past month. I traded quality time with friends for sleep. I swapped FaceTime with my boyfriend to catch some extra shuteye. I snoozed through early morning yoga classes; I let episodes of Girls linger unwatched. More than anything I could or could not eat, this is where I had to test my self-control. And I. Felt. Great. Clear-eyed in the morning, asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, and basking in the satisfaction that comes from knowing you are doing something really, really good for yourself.
Until the fateful evening of Day 24. I had been completely consumed by my current book club book (A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara in case you're interested, but please be warned: it's an absolutely heartbreaking read), and I stayed up late- way too late for teaching at 6:45am the next day. After teaching said early morning class, I promptly boarded a plane to Dallas, TX for a weekend with three high school friends and their sweet, lovely children- who keep children's hours in the morning (and rightfully so!) I was up late every night with the ladies, and early each morning with their little lambs. I sailed into Day 30 with a serious sleep deficiency entirely of my own making. And I. Felt. Gross. Bloated, puffy, bleary-eyed and blurry-minded.
So here's what I take away. There are a lot of different philosophies on what to eat, how to eat, and when to eat. In general, I think Whole30 is a solid plan. I don't think it's necessarily the Holy Grail of nutrition, the only way to safely feed your body. But I DO think sleep should be a non-negotiable. For all of us. We tend to focus on diet first, and exercise second, and sleep as a distant but all-important third. Friends, if you're dying for those french fries, it's okay to have them. But let us all agree to shut down our phones, turn off the Netflix, put down our books (note to self!), and give ourselves some blessed rest.