I’ve noticed that around my office, the standard cold gets passed around from time to time. It usually strikes during the cold & flu season but sometimes just occurs at random throughout the year. It wasn’t until a co-worker and I were chatting that I thought about how I rarely get sick. She actually pointed it out and was wondering why. I told her I think it’s because I try very hard to get eight hours of sleep every night. I know this makes me go to bed super early in comparison to the rest of the population, but it really seems to help.*
In a funny coincidence, THIS article popped up in my browser just as we finished discussing sleep and how to get more of it. Low and behold, sleep plays a part of every facet of your well-being. Lack of sleep effects everything from your weight, to your immune system, to your emotional state. And guess what else? It probably effects your training and race performance.
I’m currently reading The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing by Dr. Philip Maffetone and he shares a story about an athlete who, like most of us “weekend warriors,” trains a lot and works a full time job AND juggles family commitments. As his time for fitting everything in dwindles, he doesn’t cut workouts, he cuts sleep. And guess what? His performance declines. But, as science would have it, as soon as he backs off on some training and gets rest, he starts feeling and performing better. He doesn’t go back to his old regimen and continues to improve.
This morning, I had one of the worst swims of my life. I made it to 1,200 yards and just couldn’t will myself to swim anymore. This week I’ve had a few short nights where I didn’t hit my eight hour goal and I’m pretty certain that this is why I felt like complete ass this morning.
All of the above should go without saying but it’s worth addressing in case any of you are wondering why you may be having more difficulty with your current training. I use the Sleep Cycle app on my iPhone to guage my sleep. I have no idea how accurate it really is but when I look at the nights it says I slept poorly, I tend to agree with it. Placebo? Maybe, but I still like that it add up my sleep hours for me and the choices for the alarm sounds are awesome, like waking up in a spa versus using a quacking duck or a crazy car horn noise.
Are you getting enough sleep? Do you use a sleep app?
*This has nothing to do with sleeping but I was looking for a photo on google images for this post and I typed in “go to bed” and the scariest effing clown I’ve ever seen appeared. How did I not know about the Go To Bed Clown? Haha.
I was never one to have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep; in fact, my biggest problem used to be trying not to fall asleep at any given point in the day. Now I have the opposite problem, and I suspect I'm not getting quality sleep, even when I do sleep. Once I learned that I was viciously grinding my teeth at night (from my dentist), I wondered what else was going on that I didn't know about. Curious to try this sleep app you speak of…
First of all, I had to Google "go to bed." WTF?!?!?! Why?
When I am stressed, I tend to have crummy nights of sleep. I have noticed adding exercise has been helping me sleep more. I really think the true cure (for me) is to get a new job.
I was just thinking about this this week. I pack my days so full of stuff and if I have to choose between completing all my tasks or sleep, sleep loses every time. I always plan to go to bed at a certain time but I never make it. The other night I MADE myself stop what I was doing and go to bed when I said I was going to – and Sleep Cycle said that night was 100%! I don't know if I believe it was quite that good, but I definitely felt better when I woke up than I do most mornings.
I've really been trying to focus on getting enough sleep, but it's SO hard. There are not enough hours in the day to work, train, live life, run errands, see family + friends, read, etc. Who invented the 40-hour workweek anyway?! Thirty-two is plenty 🙂 Anyway, I've been using a fitbit to track my sleep… it's helping motivate me to get to bed earlier.
My friends make fun of me for going to bed so early but between being an early morning runner, working full-time, husband, two kids….It's what works for me. And, I haven't been sick in two years! 8pm bedtime rocks!!
I'm looking forward to your book review on Dr Phil's book 🙂