Monday, January 9

Sleep. You probably need more of it.

Dr. Jason Ross at Train Out Pain recently wrote a great blog post on the importance of sleep after reading Sleep: The Myth of 8 Hours, the Power of Naps, and the New Plan to Recharge Your Body and Brain by Nick Littlehales. Here’s an excerpt from his post, but please go read the whole thing here.

Sleep may be the most important keystone in your quest to build a healthy lifestyle. The more we learn about the science of sleep the more we realize its importance. Last year’s research showed that sleep is like taking out the garbage and clearing the waste from our brain. Not sleeping and clearing out these wastes has been linked to neurological disease such as Alzheimer’s. Sleep has been shown to physically have links to obesity and diabetes.

I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me they do fine on five or six hours of sleep a night. You might feel fine, but I can promise you that you could be better.

“Everything you get better at, you get better at while you sleep.” This is a quote from Dr. Kirk Parsley who has been researching the effects of sleep deprivation and hormone imbalances on Navy Seals for the last 10 years. (Watch his appearance on Barbell Shrugged here.)

The fact is, your body recovers both physically and mentally while sleeping. So you don’t get stronger in the gym. You get stronger when you sleep. Hormones like HGH (human growth hormone) that make your muscles grow and get stronger are released during sleep.

Other hormones that balance all of our biological systems are also released during sleep. If we are not sleeping enough, we are cutting off the vital chemical processes that make us function and keep us healthy.

There are tons of studies out there about sleep and how much we need and almost all of them have the same conclusion – we need 7-9 hours. You may need to be on the high end if you are stressing your body with high intensity workouts or you’re in a stressful work environment at work.

Lack of sleep has been compared to drunkenness in study after study. So why do we continue to convince ourselves we are ok? Don’t let your ego get in the way. It’s not cool to live too little sleep, but for some reason people wear it as a badge of honor.

In the new year, I encourage you to try your best to get 8 hours of sleep each night. There are apps made to help with this and plenty of strategies for preparing yourself for quality sleep each night.

If you want to maximize your performance in the gym and in life start by sleeping!

Workout for Monday, January 9
Front Squat – 25 min
10X1 @ 90% to 95%

8 min AMRAP
8 DB Snatches (alternating arms)
40 Double Unders
8 Burpees