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Sleep… “The Red-Headed Stepchild”

By Sean | In Events and Announcements, Health & Lifestyle, Recovery | on January 25, 2012

All Ginger jokes aside, let’s take a few minutes and discuss sleeping and your lack thereof. As Dallas Hartwig, from Whole 9, puts it, “In the realm of athletics, sleep seems to be the red-headed stepchild: clumsily acknowledged, generally overlooked, yet permanently part of the family.” In today’s society where the Type-A, hard charging, stay up to get “more” done and “out-work” your competitors mentality seems to be rewarded, we are actually doing ourselves a disservice if we skimp on our sleep. 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep is what I’m looking for. “Why,” you ask? I’ll defer to Dallas on this one and summarize some of his main points found in his Performance Menu article “Sleep: An Undervalued Ergogenic Aid“:

  • Lack of sleep increases inflammatory markers in your body, and chronically high inflammation has been linked to autoimmune disease, impaired metabolism and diabetes, and some types of cancer.  Also, lack of sleep weakens the immune system making you more susceptible to illness.
  • Through hormonal interactions, lack of sleep can lead to the body feeling hungry more often and craving more carbohydrates oftentimes leading to poorer food choices.
  • Sleep improves your recovery from training and improves strength building via secretions of growth hormone and testosterone that only occurs during your slumber.
  • Sleep deprivation of 1-2 nights leads to a noticeable deterioration in psychomotor performance, meaning you know that you’re not up to part after not sleeping well after a night or two.  However, when compared to a milder sleep deprivation (only 6 hrs/night), over a sustained period of time, the decrease in motor performance is similar but the athlete’s perception is significantly reduced.  This means they do not recognize their performance is lackluster and less than thriving.
  • Our lifts and workouts have a huge neurological component to them and if your central nervous sysem not only from yesterday’s workout but also your lack of sleep, you’re setting yourself up for a rough day at the gym.  It has been shown that athletes perform better on skill based movements after getting “extra”, likely due to the recovery their CNS gets.

Now that many of you have made it a priority to eat better this past month, start moving sleep up towards the top and do yourself a favor.  Not only for the benefits highlighted in Dallas’ article, but also for the improved quality of life.  If you’re looking for another way to help yourself reach your goals, it doesn’t get much easier than improving your sleep habits.  Other Intrepid articles to peruse on sleep are:  Enter Sandman, Siesta Anyone?, When Red Lights are a Good Thing, Jet Lag, Battling the Z-Monster, & Perchance to Dream.

By popular demand we have opened a Friday 7pm Group Class. It’s available now to sign up so get your weekend started on the right track with a great workout!

WOD 1.25.12

Snatch: Work up to a Heavy Double

8 Wall Ball Shots
10 Sit Ups

Rest 2 Minutes

5 Power Cleans
10 Toes to Bar

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