Great teachers. Teenage boys. The Gettysburg Address.  A box of Kleenex. Watch The Address, a new film by Ken Burns.

A Month of Sleep, and the Drive-Thru Home Kitchen

potatoes.jpg
Dear Kay,
People sure are giving out a lot of free advice this January, have you noticed? If I read the word antioxidant one more time, I think I’ll go have me a donut.
A couple of pieces of New Year’s advice have jumped out at me, however. You know how it is when you have been mulling something for a while, then you read an article that seems to be speaking directly to YOU.
Here are a couple of those eerie articles that are TALKING TO ME. Maybe they’ll grab you, too.
1. A Huffington Post article by Michael Pollan about his new book, Food Rules.
Michael Pollan is everybody’s favorite kind-hearted rabble-rousing foodie revolutionary. The thing I like about him is that he’s so reasonable, so unshrill. No preaching, no condescension. He doesn’t make me feel bad about the incredibly poor choices I sometimes make when it comes to food; he simply makes the case for why a cow is an expensive and earth-busting way to get a protein. He’s not mean about it, and I think that’s why he has had such success in getting us to think about food in a better way.
His wee new book, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual is his latest unpolemical exhortation, this time giving us a short collection of rules for eating better. I like this one:

#39 Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.
There is nothing wrong with eating sweets, fried foods, pastries, even drinking soda every now and then, but food manufacturers have made eating these formerly expensive and hard-to-make treats so cheap and easy that we’re eating them every day. The french fry did not become America’s most popular vegetable until industry took over the jobs of washing, peeling, cutting, and frying the potatoes — and cleaning up the mess. If you made all the french fries you ate, you would eat them much less often, if only because they’re so much work. The same holds true for fried chicken, chips, cakes, pies, and ice cream. Enjoy these treats as often as you’re willing to prepare them — chances are good it won’t be every day.

Once I figure out how to drive thru my own kitchen, this is going to be great.
bed.jpg
2. Arianna Huffington’s “Sleep Challenge 2010: Women, It’s Time to Sleep Our Way to the Top. Literally.”
I love sleep. I love sleeping, all the time. I can drop off anywhere, anytime. My bed is my favorite place on earth. Narcolepsy is in my genes. But I’m not always getting the 7.5 hours straight sleep that is the holy grail of sleep–the five 90-minute sleep cycles that give your body a real rest. So I’m going to try to do what Arianna Huffington is suggesting: a month of full nights of sleep. Go read her piece–it’s all so sensible.
It means I won’t get to midnight-shop Bloomingdale’s 70% Sale After the Sale, or watch the last part of another Jane Austen adaptation AGAIN. If I just keep the laptop out of my bedroom, and hide the TV remote, I think I can do this. It means an 11 pm bedtime, that’s all. Anybody want to join me?
Love,
Ann

Tags:

62 Comments

62 Comments

  1. My intentions this year are to eat better.
    Less junk more salads
    (I have already cut out the sodas… its sooo hard…)
    But going to bed early I think I can do that. Since I have to be up at 6 though that means 10p bedtime cuz it takes me 30 minutes to fall asleep. I think I can do it. :)
    Here hoping we can stick to this for a month:)

  2. I hear you on the love for sleep– I prefer eight to eight-and-a-half hours nightly myself. If you want a good night’s sleep, though, you can’t share a bedroom with a snorer. Or, for that matter, share a house with a dog who has to rush out and bark at opossums in the middle of the night. Recipe for sleep deprivation right there.

  3. I should join you in the sleep thing. I’ve been making an effort already (read: three whole days) to sleep earlier but I’m also trying to get up earlier to exercise so I feel a bit like I’m shooting myself in the foot. At least this way my foot might be thinner and more well rested. ;)

  4. Unfortunately, I have learned to make a pint of homemade ice cream a day. Biscuit making is not far behind. The problem with this “cook in your own kitchen” thing is that it works! In no time you’ve got rolls of cookie dough in the fridge, homemade soup sprinkled with parmesian…that “5 minutes to artisan bread” is another tragedy with warm slices of buttered bread available 24 hours from your own oven!!!!

  5. Not a problem to cook my own food and especially treats – I just need to have a horde of marathon racers to eat them instead of my own Miss Piggy self!

  6. Sleep yes! Excellent idea I’m going to give a whirl.

  7. Love the rule about making your own junk food – I’ve never heard this argument before, and it’s making me re-think my PB&J habit…
    Also, getting a full night’s sleep is beneficial in so many ways, but an 11pm bedtime is so much easier said than done! Ann, I hope you have more willpower than I do. : )

  8. Greatest word every invented
    Nap

  9. For years, I could “sleep-on-demand.” I thought it was a special skill before I realized I was just an exhausted young mom and it was sheer desperation. Now, when (theoretically) I could sleep more, I can’t seem to sleep through the night anymore. I think it’s . . . aging.

  10. That looks like the best, coziest bed on earth!

  11. I am with you!!

  12. Yes, yes, yes to the sleep! I have got to go to bed earlier! I am so much happier when I get 7+ hrs. Also, I agree we should all be cooking more, it’s so much better!

  13. Sounds good. I love to cook desserts and have no problem baking cookies to keep up with demand. And if I could just get my husband to sleep 8 hours a night, I probably could too, but what does one do when married to a guy who sleeps best from 6-10 am?

  14. It’s all good advice.
    My personal favorite:
    Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do standing up in a hammock.

  15. Ok, ok, but this isn’t going to be easy! I have to get to bed by 10pm. The evening just keeps getting shorter but I do love to sleep!
    As for the make your own junk food, I’m so glad that chocolate doesn’t count! What?? It’s not junk! It’s a gift from the gods!!! It can’t possibly count…(sob)

  16. Michael Pollan stole my idea. I used to cook almost everything from scratch, and now I am returning to my roots. I have declared this the Year of Bread – I can eat all the bread I want as long as it is homemade. It’s funny how I have started rationing each slice. TWO pieces of toast with that egg? I don’t think so.

  17. I am so in for the 11pm bedtime! But, um, can I start it next week maybe? I have so much to do this week…(But seriously, a month of 7.5 hour nights would probably be life-changing for me.)

  18. It will slow down the progress of my socks, love to knit into the wee hours, but I’ll give it a try. In a month we can compare how we’ve all done. Now I’m off to read the article…….

  19. I’m willing to sleep with you, Ann, even though my bed isn’t nearly as inviting as yours. I do have lovely flannel sheets on mine, though.
    I’m working to arise at 6:30 AM so that I have time to workout on my Wii Fit Plus every day, which is the other side of the “feel better in 2010″ campaign, held over from “lose weight and get more fit in 2009″ that was a rousing (lost 35#!) success. My dedication to monitoring my food intake is lagging so maybe getting more sleep will help. Somehow.
    Don’t talk to me about homemade bread! I dream of it and wake up drooling.
    I am awash in “goals” this month, no “resolutions” for me. Too much implied failure with the “r” word.

  20. I am so with you, Arianna and Mike P! Actually, I already do the sleep thing, but the cook ‘junk’ food from scratch is a great idea. And I’ll share the thing I did in my life which has made the most difference in energy levels…yes, I gave up caffeine in all forms. I was a one-cup a day gal — and it still took me 6 months to get to the point where I didn’t feel tired/need a quick pick-me-up NOW. Now, when I wake up, I’m awake. And if I do succumb to a diet Coke or some such, I can’t fall asleep until way late and I’m groggy the next day even if I sleep late.

  21. LMAO at only eating the junk food you make… that’s mostly what we did this holiday season, and with two hungry vegans who know how to cook on hand, and me the omnivore who bakes to relax, that was a LOT of junk food. My waistline may never look the same.

  22. Hate to tell you this (not really): there’s a new EMMA on Masterpiece starting January 24 at 9 p.m. If we turn off our TVs *right after* it ends and snuggle into bed real fast, we can do it.
    (And there’s a new Cranford ["Return to Cranford"] starting this Sunday. Sorry.)

  23. I know what you mean about sleep. I love it too. And it used to be that I could sleep anywhere and through anything, but over the last decade I’ve become a much lighter sleeper. I’m with you on the effort to get better sleep although I’m not sure how feasible it is. Do you have a start date?

  24. Great blog. I’m a long-time believer in plenty of sleep and home-made baked goods. Please look at my blog today; you’ll see someone familiar.

  25. Well, how many homemade cookies are okay? I made some really yummy oatmeal butterscotch ones this morning. Think he probably didn’t mean for me to eat as many as I did….

  26. Well, how many homemade cookies are okay? I made some really yummy oatmeal butterscotch ones this morning. Think he probably didn’t mean for me to eat as many as I did….

  27. Ahhh…7.5 hours a night. But what does Arianna have to say about the dang hot flashes that can interrupt a perfectly good sleep cycle. Or, could that be dreams of a certain man named Firth? Food for thought. Now that’s food I could enjoy every day!

  28. http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Sex/story?id=1515927
    Here’s another reason to banish the remote (and maybe the whole teevee) from your bedroom.

  29. Definitely in for the sleep portion of the program. That’s a resolution that I can live with!!

  30. I ganked my “suggestion” (I don’t like resolutions much) from one of you ladies. This year, I will put lotion on hands, face, and feet, and apply chapstick at least once each day.
    I work with a LOT of chalk, and by February my hands are nasty.
    Were nasty. This year will be better.

  31. DeLurking to say the idea of driving through one’s own kitchen? Made me laugh. Thanks

  32. DeLurking to say the idea of driving through one’s own kitchen? Made me laugh. Thanks

  33. Thanks for giving us the sleep info. I’ve been depriving myself of sleep for years and I think its high time I stopped. Also, glad to see that I am not alone in liking the cozy look of the bed and nightstand. Ann, is that tall skinny thing on your nightstand a light? (Perhaps a really good one to read or knit with before one turns in for her 7.5 hours or more.)

  34. I am SO THERE.
    I’m totally on board with #1, mostly because even though junk food is cheap, it still adds up. Plus, I’m a control freak, and I want to know what goes into it. And cooking is becoming fun for me.
    I think #2 is a little bit of a reach for me: I’ve got a 6-month-old sabotaging my sleep cycles. Someday.

  35. I loved your post, Ann! Although I have to point out that 7.5 is an average. Which means most people need either more or less than that number. AS someone who has always needed more sleep than the average, I just had to mention that. Thanks!

  36. I’m with you! Lemme go get my jammies.

  37. If I give up buying junk food and getting by with little sleep, then I won’t have any life left to speak of…
    LoveDiane

  38. you are not my type i shall not bed with you

  39. Now, if only my husband didn’t snore (or like to fall asleep with the TV on, I didn’t even want a TV in the bedroom), at the moment we are dogless, but they certainly don’t help with the 7.5 straight either, but I have to say, going to bed at 11 sounds nice, but I don’t know if I can do it.
    Michael Pollan I love.
    Good luck.

  40. I am so jealous of your 11pm bedtime! To get 7.5 hours of sleep for me would meaning going to bed at 9:30pm.
    I’m going to pick up #1 and run with it. It will either force me to be a more frequent cook and baker, or save me calories. Win!

  41. love the resolution. it reminds me of something I once read, where the author suggests coming home and going straight to bed (like 7 PM) once per month.
    I myself need to find away to stop waking up, worrying, at 2 AM every night. If only worry could burn calories. Or be profitable.

  42. Please help, Kay! my daughter is going to NY next week on business and needs some yarn shops. the link for the yarn crawl last Oct. no longer works for me. thanks.

  43. I read the word “antioxidant” on your blog, so now I want a donut!
    I do make a lot of baked goods. No french fries, though.
    And I don’t get much sleep!

  44. I’m in! I was already marveling at how much I felt after 9 hours of sleep for 2 weeks!

  45. Tee hee. I am addicted to the Huffington Post too. I have it and Mason-Dixon Knitting on my Favorites Bar.

  46. I am reading your blog at 2:00 a.m.–I think I will miserably fail in trying to get 7.5 hours of sleep a night.
    I wish you hadn’t mentioned the homemade junk food. The only french fries I like are homemade. Hmmm, wonder if I’ve got any potatoes…….

  47. Hey — the top potato in the pic’ is smiling.

  48. I have always had one hard and fast rule – no TV in the bedroom. Hubby wasn’t too happy with that rule in the beginning, but he went along. We sleep sooooo much better than our friends with all tv, all the time, especially because we get up so early, usually 5:30. If we’d gotten in the habit of watching tv in bed, we’d have spent the past 34 years even more sleep deprived that we have. Besides, who needs to START the day with the sort of news that’s on in the morning? I need something GOOD in the morning.

  49. Gah, I cannot imagine a month of 7.5 hours of straight sleep. It sounds like a bit of heaven. I’ll have to read the article and see if she has any advice for how to break the chronic wake up in the middle of the night thing I experience.

  50. hmmmm. well my babe has made me do #1 by being allergic to dairy, broccoli, oranges, and coconut so basically eating out is impossible. I eat so many less french fries these days! Though there was the disgustingly delicious week where I decided to once and for all learn how to make hash browns. Yum.
    Ironically the babe makes it impossible for #2. I drool over the idea of 7.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Sigh. Even just 4 would be amazing.
    Maybe next year (god, please next year?) I’ll work on #2.

  51. Read Michael Pollan’s Botany of Desire a few years ago and will put Food Rules on my library waitlist posthaste. He really has made me think about mass produced food differently. You are also so spot on regarding women and consequences of sleep deprivation – (thank so much for link to article). I recently had a neuro workup due to memory and inattention issues that I learned are not ADD nor ‘senior moments’ but due to lack of sleep. Turning in a lot earlier these days and starting to feel a difference.

  52. Here ya on both those topics – I love Pollan – he does make so much sense. And let me tell you – hmemade marshmallows and graham crackers (toasted into smores) taste INFINITELY better than store bought! As for the sleep issue, I need more than 7.5 so I have been trying my best to get into bed by 9:30 for my 5:30 wake-up call!

  53. I started getting more sleep after I got married. I cut back on the work hours and tried to get my hours to more closely match DH’s. I am telling you, in about a week I felt like a completely new person with only one additional hour of sleep per night. What can I say, my sleep clock says 7 hours, not 7.5 or 8. Try it!

  54. I would love to sleep more. Actually I would just like to be able to “fall” asleep.

  55. I read the comments and was amazed that people could stay up so late! I just plain collapse when I am tired…there is NO staying up just a bit later. I get up at 5:30 so I am in bed by 9 at the latest (and some nights a hour earlier). I am a teacher and I love it…but it wears me totally out! So all of you sleep-deprived people, join me in the early to bed club!

  56. From the time my kids were toddlers,I used to sleep 8.5-9 hours a night- in bed by 10. I grew up on a farm and love being up early. That all was cacked when I went back to nursing. Now I work 12 hour shifts, but I retaliate with pulling a 12 hour sleep sometimes.

  57. as if anyone needed another reason to sleep more, there was an article in glamour magazine last year about the ‘sleep diet’: they got a group of women to sleep at least 7 1/2 hours every night–that’s the only lifestyle change they made–and they all lost weight. all of them.

  58. Thanks for all of the elements of this post. I want to try them — especially the sleeping. My challenge will be to find a quiet space to do the things I want (like reading) away from the television (which my husband has on non-stop because he can tune it out) so I don’t have to stay up late to have the quiet time.

  59. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….. I love sleeping! I sleep a full 7.5 to 8 hours a night and have done for years but I do go to bed at 10pm and get up at 5.30am most mornings best time of the day for dog walking, inspiration and peace and quiet.

  60. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….. I love sleeping! I sleep a full 7.5 to 8 hours a night and have done for years but I do go to bed at 10pm and get up at 5.30am most mornings best time of the day for dog walking, inspiration and peace and quiet.

  61. I love to sleep. Naps are the best invention ever. But boy, do I have a hard time going to bed early. It’s a holdover, I suppose, from all those nights of having to go to bed when I was told. You know, the muttering to myself…”when I’m bigger, I’ll go to bed when I darn well please”. Well, that obviously stuck. Bedtime at 11:00? Weeelll, maybe.

  62. Dear Ann,
    Totally off subject but the pictured bed looks just like mine except someone thought it would be a good idea to shorten the legs. Mine is a cherry rope bed and I love it. Love yours also.
    I will try to get more sleep–I already like about 9 hrs but 10 couldn’t hurt. I think more sleep just translates into less time to eat.
    Keep up the good work.
    Bonnie