I have felt like crap the last few days. I felt I was underperforming on all levels, at the gym, at home and at work. I thought maybe I was getting sick. I was having problems adhering to my nutritional and weight loss goals. My body and mind were sending me the “eat” signal, and I was craving bad foods. I was sort of at a loss as to what to do, and I felt myself getting very frustrated. It’s those frustrating moments that can cause you to quit or to change your goals. This situation has happened even to the best of us.
So I made an executive decision. After a frustrating day of what I felt was little progress and some potential back-sliding, I decided to just go to bed early. Now on weekdays, I get up at the lovely hour of 4:30 A.M. I choose to get up this early, because I like to ease into my day and this gives me a chance to take my time working through my morning routine. It also gives me at least 30-40 minutes of quiet time before the chaos of the day begins. I use this time to organize my thoughts and my day. I also do very little prep for the next day the night before. So everything gets done in the mornings. I could lay out my work clothes, pack a gym bag, get my lunch stuff together and potentially save myself some time and sleep in every morning, but I have a routine. Getting up that early also gets me to work at or just before 7 A.M. or about 20-30 minutes before a lot of my co-workers and well head of my boss. SO al that means I usually hit the sack around 9:30 at night. I may read for a few minutes to relax or I may just drop right off.
Not last night. I announce my intentions early and my wife was on board. If I go to bed early that means quiet time for her, so I can see why she would agree. 8:30 P.M. I was in bed. I read for a few minutes, then…. boom. Out for a solid 8 hours.
Today is a whole new day compared to the last few. I feel completely different physically and mentally. Turns out all the psychological and accompanying physical fuss of the last few days were most likely just fatigue. Now I do sleep a lot on weekends and that is normally enough in the old Bank of 40 winks to get me though the week. Contrary to popular belief and some science, you can stock up on sleep to a certain extent. Especially when you know you have a period of increased operational tempo coming up. Ask anyone I the military. They will agree. But this is just one of those weeks where I felt wrung out. And I will bet that if I was able to go back in time, I could find many weeks where about mid-week I was I the same space. Only I didn’t address it and performance suffered.
In fact I feel so good today, after giving it some thought, I might just lay make it a point to make sure that at least ONE day during the work week, I sleep a full 8 hours. I usually come in around a solid 6.5-7 hours depending. Why not? We program in rest days, recovery days, cheat days, heavy lift days, re-feeds, and all sorts of other things. Why not an enforced sleep day? Right around mid-week when you are starting to get tired and Friday seems so very far away. Just one night of nothing but sweet uninterrupted restful sleep. Surely I can manage that.
We talk a lot on the blogosphere about nutrition and workout plans, supplements and technique. But we do not talk enough about the psychology of healthy living, eating and weight maintenance as it relates to our fitness goals. Fatigue, a how it affects your body and your outlook should be a discussion that you need to have with yourself. You need sleep. Both to restore the body, and the mind. Without it you die. And there is plenty of research that documents the effects of chronic (not acute) insufficient amounts of sleep.
So stop short changing yourself if you are. Is what you are doing that is keeping you up so important that you can’t re-dedicate that hour or two (or more in some cases) to your emotional and physical well- being? Go to sleep dummy. I did, and it helped. At the very least, it can’t hurt.