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Shift Work and Sleep

By Marcus | In Challenges, Recovery | on April 19, 2012

How is everyone doing on the sleep challenge so far? Remember, your first week’s log is due tonight in my inbox no later than 8pm.

What seems to be throwing some people is the zero electronics “bonus” challenge. Both Ray and Scott mentioned that they noticed themselves getting sleepy very soon and wondered if they should force themselves to stay awake for the full hour.

Look people — bonus or no bonus, the name of the game here is more sleep. If your body is telling you to get some shuteye, listen to it! If you get sleepy soon after you light those candles, this is telling you a few things:

You see the way the blue lights have been altering your sleep

You probably are not getting enough sleep yet

You should likely push your bedtime earlier

If you push that bedtime earlier and are making a solid 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep, you’ll probably find you will make it through the full hour. Don’t fret, as you will still get the benefit of very relaxed and deep slumber.

Another issue that people brought up is that they wake sooner than they planned. In some cases, much sooner. This is again your body letting you know that something is slightly amiss. This may be due to some overcooked adrenals, which can be any combination of too much stress, too much caffeine, overtraining or a combo platter. A first step you could try is using one of the magnesium supplements that I’ve mentioned before — either Natural Calm or ZMA.

Lastly, I want to leave you with a clip that I saw on NBC’s Nightly News. This segment speaks about shift work (typically referring to those on graveyard shift) and how a recent study found it negatively affects the body. Listen to what few hours sleep these workers are getting as well as their eating habits and the consequences that follow.


WOD 04.19.12

Skills Day

2 Comments to "Shift Work and Sleep"

  • Scott says:

    April 19, 2012 at 9:57 AM -

    Crazy news story. Definitely makes me feel bad for all those professions that have to work the night shift.

    I’ve been having a difficult time with this sleep challenge. As I mentioned to you and you commented above, I find that my body wants to fall asleep within 10-20 minutes after I turn out the lights and turn on candles. I definitely don’t make it an hour with red lights.

    I’ve been going to bed earlier for the past week, at least an hour earlier than I used to, but my body is then waking up an hour earlier than I used to as well. I’ve been staying in bed for that extra hour, essentially napping, but I’m not getting more uninterrupted sleep.

    I also got sick this week, so I’ve been waking up coughing. So that doesn’t help my uninterrupted sleep. But hopefully as I recover from this illness and stick with the challenge for another week I’ll start to see an improvement.

    Do you think the red light and extra sleep made me get sick? My body was so confused by the extra sleep it didn’t know how to react!! :) Just kidding.

  • CrossFit Intrepid » Sleep and the Athlete says:

    April 23, 2012 at 6:00 AM -

    […] Chronic sleep loss can lead to a 30-40% reduction in glucose metabolism (see my post on shift workers) […]

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