Don’t Skimp on Sleep – By Coach Jason Yule
Most health and wellness articles these days tell you about things you like but shouldn’t have anymore or things you probably don’t like that you need more of. I’m happy to tell you that this isn’t one of those articles. This is an article telling you that YOU NEED MORE of something that you probably love, but don’t get enough of – sleep.
In today’s ultra-fast paced world, we never seem to have enough hours in the day. Because of that, we inevitably wind up finding things to cut out and eliminate from our busy schedules. Unfortunately, most of the time sleep is top of that list. And I wouldn’t be writing this if that wasn’t true for me as well. The fact of the matter is that we are super busy, and sleep is treated as a luxury that we only get to enjoy once all the work is done. Today I’m going to share why that is a misfortunate mindset, and why skimping on sleep may be causing more harm than the good in increased time and productivity.
There are a host of negative side effects associated with lack of sleep, such as lack of focus, lack of creativity, etc. Today I’m only going to focus on the health and wellness aspects, because that is why you guys are reading this – you most likely are in the process of improving your health, or want to start improving your health. The following are the top reasons why not getting enough sleep is sabotaging your efforts in burning fat or won’t allow you to pack on that solid muscle you’re working so hard for.
- Laziness, Lack of Energy, and Loss of Motivation – How do you feel when you wake up first thing in the morning? If you slept for 6 hours or less, chances are you probably feel groggy and not fully energized. Our first symptom of sleep deprivation is laziness and loss of motivation. If you wake up groggy and not fully energized, chances are you aren’t even going to want to go to the gym in the first place, let alone push yourself hard enough to get a solid workout in when you get there.
- Metabolism and Muscle Repair – When you are deprived of sleep, a few things happen within your body as well. First, your metabolism slows down. Without getting too deep into the science, when you get a full night’s sleep, your body releases certain chemicals that promote body repair, and in doing so your metabolism increases because your body is hard at work. When you aren’t fully rested, your body isn’t fully repairing itself and you miss out on the boosted metabolism. To that effect, your body does a lot of its muscular and bone repair while you sleep as well, so if you skimp on your sleep, you won’t be as recovered as you could and should be, which will hurt the following day’s workout.
- Decreased Cognitive Function – The third side effect we will talk about is decreased cognitive function. It is well known that your brain does not perform at its peak abilities when you are sleep deprived. This transfers into the gym as well, and specifically in CrossFit. We do a lot of very technically demanding moves, such as the snatch, clean and jerk, and most gymnastics moves. If your mind isn’t completely turned on, good luck hitting a perfect snatch or Muscle-up, and we know how important technique is for those movements.
That all sounds great, but one question remains and I can hear you asking it to yourself – “but Jason, where do I find the TIME to sleep?” Great question, and I can help if I can change your mindset with sleep. You see, sleep can’t be treated as something that happens at the end of the day after all the work is done. Think about your job – your job isn’t something that you do when you get to it; it is something that you schedule ahead of time. It’s a designated chunk of time that practically nothing can get in the way of. This is how your training should be as well. And you guessed it – sleep too. Schedule your sleep in your calendar if you have to. 10pm – 6am will get the job done. So just block it off in your calendar so you know nothing can get in the way of it, and treat it that way.
Once your sleep schedule is set, a tactic to sticking to it is setting a sleep alarm on your phone. Every night at 9:30pm my phone starts chirping at me. That’s my reminder to shut down whatever I’m doing and to go to bed. Without that alarm, chances are I’ll look at my phone and it will be 11:00pm at night. If you struggle with putting your work down and getting to bed on time, the sleep alarm might be perfect for you too.
Let us know if sleep is an issue for you, and if you use either of these tactics, let us know how they work for you! Now, go sleep 😉
Coach Jason Yule