This is an older post from last year, and I just wanted to post it again because of it’s importance and relevance in the life of avid exerciser.
I know it’s tempting to stay up late at night watching Grey’s Anatomy in a nice, warm quiet house after everyone has gone to bed. Trust me though, sleep deprivation will take years off you life. You may think that a little sleep debt now is nothing to worry about, but trust me, the interest charged to your body will catch up with you. Just read below what we’ve found.
I don’t know about you guys, but one of my biggest ongoing challenges is making adequate sleep a priority in my schedule. I mean really, who got to decide that a day should be 24 hours anyway? Didn’t they know how much awesomeness there is to enjoy in life while you’re conscious? Don’t get me wrong, I love my sleep and I feel like a million dollar baby when I get quality shut-eye but, quite honestly, I’m often just too dang excited about LIVING that reminding myself how crucial RESTING is to the overall quality of life invokes the dread and rebellion I felt as a teenager when my parents reminded me about the load of homework that awaited me on my desk! Um, thanks but no thanks.
As I get older, however, I’ve learned not to ignore the sage wisdom of my body and its request for R & R. When it speaks, I listen respectfully and I’m better for it. One of my goals this year has been focusing on making sleep a priority and WOW has it made a world of difference! So recently I’ve become really interested in the extent to which sleep, or lack thereof, impacts recovery and training performance. And let me tell you, as I began to explore the research out there on this topic it became quite clear I’d uncovered a bottomless abyss. Forget 24-hour days, I’d need several lifetimes just to sift through it all! This discovery presented me with a challenge, no less, in my attempt to write a blog about this all-important matter. So bear with me as I try to simplify and illustrate the highly underrated significance of good sleep and getting enough of it, as it applies to you guys and your WOD performance and recovery.
After perusing I don’t know how many articles I found by a simple Google search as well as studies posted on PubMed (which is a fantastic resource open to the public), I compiled a few of the most common threads that kept resurfacing during my search. Below I’ve included the most pertinent repercussions. Inadequate sleep:
- Can lead to weight gain
- Interferes with the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates (by as much as 30-40%!!!)
- Causes high blood levels of glucose (blood sugar), higher insulin levels and greater body fat storage, which leads to insulin resistance and higher risk for Type II diabetes
- Causes a decrease in leptin levels, a hormone produced in fat cells that signals satiety (feeling full) and an increase in ghrelin, a hormone in the GI tract that stimulates appetite
- Causes an increase in cortisol levels, a stress hormone that can interfere with tissue repair & recovery
- Reduces levels of growth hormones, proteins that helps regulate the body’s proportions of fat and muscle
- Can increase blood pressure (according to a report from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, people who sleep six or fewer hours a night are more likely to have high blood pressure )
- Can increase the risk of heart disease (too little sleep can promote calcium buildup in the heart arteries, leading to the plaques that can then break apart and cause heart attacks and strokes)
And the list goes on folks! Unbelievably. Surely we should take the hint, but then again, we all know how much better we feel after not only a good night’s sleep but consecutive, consistent sessions of quality zzzzzs. The moral of my blog today then is this: We so highly covet the ‘Rx’ beside our name on the whiteboard after an arse-kicking WOD, and if we have yet to do so or can’t seem to do it consistently, or if Chuck is calling you ‘Nancy’ too frequently, perhaps the missing element is a commitment to Sleep AsRx: 1 Round daily, for time, 7-8 hours minimum. DO IT!
During my plunge into the bottomless abyss of all-things-sleep, I came across this fantastic article entitled ‘Fat Loss: The Sleep & Exercise Continuum,’ the link to which I’ve provided below. The content is so perfectly applicable to a CrossFit audience and while being extremely informative, it’s also intelligent and witty. You’ll enjoy it I’m sure! Also check out the other link below on why it pays to ‘Sleep to Be an All-Star.’
Thanks for being your best,
CG & SG