Most diet and fitness experiments are planned and measured. Faithful readers recall my 30-day Paleo experiment or my recap of Gluten-Free January. Of course, there are dozens of other people doing experiments all over the place (like Johnny B. Truant, who’s documenting his experience on the slow-carb diet and biphasic sleep. And you, dear reader, probably have some experiments of your own brewing in the lab.
I didn’t plan on running a sleep experiment, but when we published an article by Dallas Hartwig of Whole9 in the Performance Menu on the value of sleep, I felt like I should put my money where my mouth is and take a look at my sleep schedule.
I’ve been getting adequate sleep for quite a while, as the negative effects of sleep deprivation have already been beaten into my head by none other than Robb Wolf. But ever since I gave up teaching for freelance writing and editing, which coincided with a move from the Sonoran desert to the Midwest in the winter, I’ve been going to bed in the wee morning hours and getting up in the very late morning–sometimes even afternoon. It’s hard not to. I’m a bit of a workaholic and like staying up and working when my phone isn’t ringing and I can safely ignore e-mails. Plus the godawful Midwestern weather makes it hard to get up early.
However, Dallas’ case was convincing enough that I decided to get to bed early for the month of February. Something about cortisol and the adrenal system and how you should get to bed around 10. Lights Out goes into lots of detail on the science of it if you want to geek out on it. That book recommends 9pm, which I think is insane. Even 10pm was very difficult for me (since I’d been used to, say, 3AM) so I moved to 11pm–still way better than 2:30, right? After a few weeks of this with no visible results, I hurt my knee pretty badly. I hyperextended it, irritating the meniscus and bursa sack, and likely strained both my hamstring and vastus medialis.
It’s been about three weeks since then, and I’ll reluctantly admit that I haven’t been doing so well on the regimen front. As this article title indicated, I’ve been sitting on my ass and eating ice cream. It’s true. I *have* been eating very good Paleo meals (thanks in no small part to my kick-ass boyfriend), but they’ve been supplemented by more than my fair share of Julie’s Organic ice cream bars (and coconut ice cream). I’ve been slacking on fish oil and supplements. I haven’t done any upper body work (even though I can). I’ve mostly just been throwing a pity party.
Instead of lifting weights and going to jits, I’ve been sitting on my computer, working round the clock. My gym time (where I’d be working on guard escapes and submission set-ups) and home gym time (where I’d be working squats and presses) has been replaced by 1 set of 15 reps of three different rehab exercises, every other day.
So I was surprised when I found myself getting buffer. It was quite befuddling since I’ve been doing virtually no exercise and not eating as well as I could be. I didn’t think I’d lost any poundage (I hadn’t since I’d checked) but I just stepped on the scale and noticed I’ve lost ~3-4 lbs., and that’s at night (not the morning fasted state).
I was very confused about this new development, until I remembered I’d been going to bed earlier for the past 3 weeks or so. (Damn it, Dallas was right!) Unfortunately, this means my late night work sessions will have to be a thing of the past. The good news is that I can if I go to bed early *and* work out as much as I was pre-injury, I might be unstoppable! Other good news is that I’m now even more psyched to attend the Whole9 seminar in a couple weeks. I may even share a few tidbits, so make sure to check back!
And if you see me posting at 2AM, make sure to call me out! I can’t lose these gains I
worked so hard for slept so hard for!