Your Next FYF Challenge Bonus Mission: Sleep!

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Did you know that depriving yourself of sleep, for even one night, has the same effect on your body as being pre-diabetic?

More on this point below. But first, I want to share how our FYF Challengers are doing.

We’re almost 2 weeks into our Find Your Fuel Challenge, and our Challengers are already learning a lot and reporting some great results. Here are some highlights from the daily logs:

“Yes! Down 3 lbs! Feeling psyched!”

“My favorite thing about eating clean is I wake up a lot more refreshed in the morning due to better sleep.”

“Felt good during the mile run. Something good must be happening.”

“Sleeping better the last few nights. Less digestive issues overall.”

“I’ve dropped 4 pounds!!! and I’m PRing all over the place!!”

“Learning quite a bit about the macronutrients and it’s affect on my energy level. Protein keeps me from being hungry…sadly low carb intake makes me sleepy.”

“As I drink all this water that I never did before, I can see the difference during my workout.”

“Eating clean 100%. Felt good and stronger last night at the box during pre workout and WOD!”

“Ran 3 miles. Felt strong.”

There’s still a long way to go in the Challenge, and that means it’s anyone’s game. The true test will be who stays the most consistent over the long run. While you may not be able to form a habit in 21 days, each day is a new challenge, and a new opportunity, to renew your commitment to what you desire. Keep it up, Challengers!

Your Next Mission…Sleep

Our first FYFC Bonus mission was to drink water. Getting enough water is crucial to keeping your metabolism, digestion, and hunger signals dialed in, and is therefore a very underrated fat loss strategy. It also happens to be the most low-calorie way to stay hydrated.

Read more about the benefits of water here and here.

While we hope you’ll keep up your newfound water habit for good, it’s not the only hidden factor in your fat loss/muscle gain success. Perhaps even more important is whether you’re getting enough sleep.

Why sleep?

Sleep deprivation causes insulin, leptin, and adrenaline resistance, meaning that the food you eat causes you to gain more weight, and the hormones that normally cause you to feel satisfied and full don’t work.

It also alters your mood and your cognitive performance (which, if you’re anything like me, you may already be familiar with). Crankiness, combined with increased hunger hormones? That sounds like a great recipe for overeating or even binge eating.

Finally, chronic sleep deprivation can have even more dire effects, like systemic inflammation, thyroid problems, and increased cancer risk.

Read more about the importance of sleep in this article from Robb Wolf’s blog.

Jacob Loredo sweat angel

Not exactly sleep…but pretty close.

Sleep Bonus Rules

We’ll be following last year’s Whole Life Challenge guidelines for sleep this time around. Here they are:

1. You must accumulate 7 hours of sleep every day. That means that you do not have to get it all in one stretch. You can make up the difference during the day with a well-planned nap. Think it’s cheating? No sir. As a matter of fact, mid-day naps may decrease the risk of coronary stress.

2. Start counting your sleep time when you close your eyes and turn out the lights. Time in bed reading, talking, or watching TV does not count as sleep time!

3. Points earned for this Lifestyle Challenge are counted the following day. That means that when you enter your score on Sunday, you are entering your score for Friday to Saturday sleep. If you didn’t get that full night’s sleep from Friday to Saturday, you still have all day Saturday to get in a restorative siesta to make up for any lost time and earn your points.

Sleep Tools

I have to admit, sleep is one of those things that I find hard to fit in. But that’s why we have Challenges like this to add that extra motivational push! Here are some tips to help you get your sleep in:

  1. There are many tools to help you track not only your hours of sleep, but sleep quality. I love using the freemium Sleep As Android app. If you’re an iPerson, Sleep Cycle is for you.
  2. Looking at bright computer/TV screens before bed tricks your brain (and therefore hormones) into thinking it’s still daylight, making it harder to fall sleep. Again, there’s an app for that. Consider installing the free fl.ux app on your computer and iPhone, or Twilight for Android, to automatically adjust your screen’s lighting depending on time of day. (An even better option: turn off the screen and read a book instead.)
  3. Blackout curtains can really help, if your schedule doesn’t let you rise and set with the sun. Or, in a pinch, eye covers are better than nothing!
  4. This Bonus tip may be easy or really hard for you, depending on your schedule. Just do your best, and don’t get discouraged. Challenge rules aside, think of this as your opportunity to focus on getting more sleep, and learning how it affects your body and your life.

Good luck with catching those Z’s!


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