Sleep is very underrated. If it's possible, I may have abused sleep over the years even more than food. Late night TV. All nighters through college and grad school. Early mornings for work. When I was younger, I managed better, "functioning" on six hours and surviving the occasional shorter night. But I wasn't thriving, constantly battling short sleep and turning to coffee and junk food for energy. I recently realized that I need seven hours to function without being on an energy roller coaster. And aside from one short night that I wrote about last week, I've kept that commitment ever since and it is paying off.
In the past, I'd become progressively more tired the farther I got for each previous weekend. This week was very different:
|Proper sleep allowed me to enjoy a Friday night M's game|
- On Thursday I woke up and things felt very strange. "Is it Saturday already?" I thought. "No." I realized it felt like Saturday because it felt like I had slept in. But in reality, I hadn't slept in, I just hadn't accumulated a sleep debt.
- On Friday afternoon I was offered two Mariners tickets to that night's game. Precisely, I was offered Mariners tickets at 3:30 and had work obligations until 5:45. That left me exactly an hour to drive home, deal with the emotionally charged conversation of which kid would go with me (I caved and bought a third ticket), and drive into Seattle to meet the person giving us the tickets. Oh, and have enough energy left to actually enjoy the 7:10 game, which lasted until about 10:00. And then drive home. In the past I would have either been too tired to enjoy it and/or grabbed a large coffee at 5:00. But this time I had plenty of energy to enjoy the whole thing. And what a payoff - the gift seats were 17 rows behind home plate for Felix Hernandez.
Walking is also underrated. After months of nagging pains from the zero-to-sixty sprints required by softball, my legs feel fully healthy again from a steady diet of walking.
I've found an easy boundary for overeating. Years ago I did a diet that included one hour of eating anything you want as long as it was generally balanced. The catch was that it was strict for the other 23 hours (essentially vegetables and protein only). For the past week I've been doing the one hour limit for junk food and it has totally shut down my late night cravings. I'm including a lot more than the old protein diet, but all quite healthy.
So there you have it. Don't skimp on sleep. Move a little. Eat mostly healthy things. And you'll feel good. It really is just that easy.