I've noticed that around my office, the standard cold gets passed around from time to time. It usually strikes during the cold & flu season but sometimes just occurs at random throughout the year. It wasn't until a co-worker and I were chatting that I thought about how I rarely get sick. She actually pointed it out and was wondering why. I told her I think it's because I try very hard to get eight hours of sleep every night. I know this makes me go to bed super early in comparison to the rest of the population, but it really seems to help.*
In a funny coincidence, THIS article popped up in my browser just as we finished discussing sleep and how to get more of it. Low and behold, sleep plays a part of every facet of your well-being. Lack of sleep effects everything from your weight, to your immune system, to your emotional state. And guess what else? It probably effects your training and race performance.
I'm currently reading The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing by Dr. Philip Maffetone and he shares a story about an athlete who, like most of us "weekend warriors," trains a lot and works a full time job AND juggles family commitments. As his time for fitting everything in dwindles, he doesn't cut workouts, he cuts sleep. And guess what? His performance declines. But, as science would have it, as soon as he backs off on some training and gets rest, he starts feeling and performing better. He doesn't go back to his old regimen and continues to improve.
This morning, I had one of the worst swims of my life. I made it to 1,200 yards and just couldn't will myself to swim anymore. This week I've had a few short nights where I didn't hit my eight hour goal and I'm pretty certain that this is why I felt like complete ass this morning.
All of the above should go without saying but it's worth addressing in case any of you are wondering why you may be having more difficulty with your current training. I use the Sleep Cycle app on my iPhone to guage my sleep. I have no idea how accurate it really is but when I look at the nights it says I slept poorly, I tend to agree with it. Placebo? Maybe, but I still like that it add up my sleep hours for me and the choices for the alarm sounds are awesome, like waking up in a spa versus using a quacking duck or a crazy car horn noise.
Are you getting enough sleep? Do you use a sleep app?
*This has nothing to do with sleeping but I was looking for a photo on google images for this post and I typed in "go to bed" and the scariest effing clown I've ever seen appeared. How did I not know about the Go To Bed Clown? Haha.