Sleep and Your Tired Eyes

You don't want to be good - you want to be great.  That's why you train hard and eat right.  You work hard and you play hard.  And because you are such a rock star, you get it all done, despite having to burn the candle at both ends.  But you'll be fine - you catch up on sleep on Sundays and start the week fresh.

As good as this may sound, depriving yourself from getting adequate sleep is detrimental to your goals.  If you aren't getting enough sleep, your rockstardom is completely null - no amount of supplements or healthy eating can replace the recovery your body goes through while in sleep mode.

Sleep is more than just resting your eyes.   Sleep regulates your hormones, your secretion of cortisol, melatonin, serotonin, testosterone, growth hormone and dopamine - and that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Start depriving yourself of proper amounts and quality sleep and you will lose your aerobic endurance, your secretion of growth hormone (say goodby to active tissue repair and strength gains and hello to soreness), depleted mood, elevated stress... all bad things.  Stay in a deprived state and your symptoms will become more drastic and acute.  Not only will your quality of training diminish, but your psychosocial and physical state during your waking hours will as well.

Additionally, you need to stop lulling yourself to sleep with things like television and web-surfing.  Just like your diet, you should think of your sleep in terms of the caveman -- if it's dark outside, biologically, you should be sleeping.  Now, I am not telling you to become an eccentric who hermits themselves by sunset, but be aware "[a]rtificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed at night suppresses release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness and shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour—making it more difficult to fall asleep." (Quoted from Charles Czeisler, PhD, MD, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital).

To read more about it, I highly recommend the book Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival by T.S. Wiley.  Considering all the research you have done on perfecting your diet, you should know a bit more about the most important part of your recovery process.  Don't be just another person who takes sleep for granted. Respect your recovery process.  Get your 8 hours.