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Challenge Accepted: Pinch Me, I’m Dreaming

Challenge Accepted: Pinch Me, I’m Dreaming

may_blog_photo_18 hours of sleep – is it possible? No, probably not…

I tried! I really tried! I forgot what it’s like to fall asleep when you aren’t exhausted though. Apparently 8 hours is so restful that even at 11:30pm at night, I still don’t feel like I need more rest yet.


  • Use my Fitbit to track my sleep patterns
  • Try coffee alternatives to be more awake during working hours
  • Set a bedtime routine to ensure 8 hours of sleep per night


I was able to establish a good routine. I set my iPhone to Night Shift Mode and set a bedtime alarm. That helped me establish the routine of brushing my teeth and reading early, which would make sure I was able to relax and become tired in time to still get 8 hours of sleep.

That’s what was supposed to happen anyway. What really happened was that I was so well-rested, my brain didn’t want to shut off and I ended up reading for an hour or more every night, and still not being able to fall asleep for a while. I guess I am not used to having to shut off my brain, I just keep going until it’s exhausted and can’t function any longer. I must say, that’s a faster way to fall asleep.


But I did have a very stressful week. I mean, let’s face it, every week is stressful. But this week especially. I clearly didn’t take enough time to relax my mind. Plus it doesn’t help that my dog has also developed a new habit of needing to be let outside at 3am so I have to fall asleep twice every night. I’m going to work on ways to get my stress out of my head before I start my bedtime routine every night, which will make my routine longer, but also will make me more rested, so probably worth it!

I also tried different ways to feel more awake during the day so I am more productive, and hopefully able to have more time to relax at the end of it. I don’t really like coffee very much unless it’s a delicious sugary frappe. I am trying to get used to it but I am also very sensitive to caffeine so I wanted to find alternatives that weren’t terrible energy drinks that burn holes in my stomach or something.

I tried a number of coffee alternatives:

  1. Diet Coke (Feisty Cherry) – I don’t like diet drinks and I don’t like consuming things that are so unnatural on a daily basis, but I found that I liked these drinks a lot, and were lower in caffeine than a cup of coffee (coffee has approximately 95mg, Diet Coke has approximately 46mg.)
  2. Nature Valley Energy granola bar – This didn’t have any caffeine but still gave me an energy boost because it has protein and sugar to help wake you up. I did find that this helped, but its effects weren’t as intense or long lasting as something with actual caffeine. Plus it has 15g of sugar just in the one bar, and I like to save my sugar allotment for the day for after-work ice cream .
  3. V8 Energy – MY NEW BESTIE! First of all, it tastes amazing. They have a bunch of different flavors, all of which I have since bought and tried, and they all taste like juice. It has 80mg of caffeine, which is more than I really need so I only drink half and save the rest for the next day! (Yes I know I’m pathetic.) The caffeine actually comes from green tea extract, has no added sugar and contains 1 combined serving of fruits and veggies, so it makes me feel better about having something a little more natural than a Red Bull would be! Plus, you can get a 6 pack for like $4 at Target!

I’m pretty excited to have all those new options that don’t taste like gross coffee! Plus I found online some other things I want to try, like chocolate bars with caffeine, because who doesn’t want to start their morning with chocolate? And I am also very conscious of when/how much caffeine I consume because I am now paranoid that I will inhibit my natural cortisol levels and become addicted! So I wait until at least 9:30am every morning to drink my delicious half-can of V8, BECAUSE SCIENCE.


FAVORITE RECIPE THIS MONTH: Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Pudding

This looks gross but it’s actually delicious, especially if you are craving chocolate!



  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • 1.5 cup almond milk
  • 32g chocolate protein powder
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp. agave
  • 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter


Place the chia seeds, cocoa powder and protein powder into a mason jar and swirl all the ingredients around. Add the almond milk and agave and screw the lid on tight. Shake until completely mixed and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

When serving, remove from the fridge and layer with peanut butter and whatever other toppings you like. I added bananas, or just opted for plain peanuts instead of peanut butter.

The products mentioned in this blog are not officially endorsed by Merritt Clubs.