The Forgotten Supplement

Sleep

We all live really busy lives. I know for most of us, myself included, that is why Crossfit appealed to us in the first place. High Efficiency workouts in a scheduled block of time. It gave us no excuse really, to block off 5-7 hours a week dedicated to our own betterment. Then most of us caught on with paleo nutrition. It appealed to me because it wasn’t a crash diet. It didn’t require me to spend ungodly amounts of money to learn about it. It was just there. For all to explore, experiment with, and reap the benefits of.

Good sleep is one of the most important elements of health maintenance, as well as athletic performance and improvement. (Rawls-Meehan 2012)

(c) Fitbomb: Check in Post

(c) Fitbomb: Check in Post

Sleep needs to be viewed as the missing capstone to your fitness. We all have changed with the addition of Crossfit into our workout routines. I can think back (8 months ago) and think of the frustrating fitness routines I was doing and getting zero results, and I look at where I am now: 25lbs lighter and two inches off my waist. I wonder why I didn’t find it sooner. Anyway, I am getting a bit off track here. Let’s focus.

We changed our excercise levels, and have become more active individuals. Our eating habits have changed as well, we spend more time at the grocery store looking for natural products with no sugar, grains, etc. Now we see our performance plateauing, maybe even becoming frustrating. Well, if you’re doing everything right nutritionally then there might be a key piece on information you are forgetting.

Sleep

Crossfit Journal actually did a great article about sleep and how it relates to our over all fitness. This is going to be my main source of information that I am trying to relay onto you.
You can find a link below in the “References” section.

Here’s the excerpt from that article that I found to be the most useful:

  • Studies have shown that athletes who consistently get around 10 (ten) hours of sleep per night show marked improvement in strength, speed, agility, and reaction time.
  • Athletes who get around 10 (ten) hours of sleep demonstrate significantly better muscle memory for movements they have learned for the day before.
  • People who don’t get enough sleep are more prone to diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and other various cardiometabolic and endocrine disorders (Rawls-Meehan 2012).
    • Wait a second, isn’t that we started exercising in the first place? So…if we don’t get enough sleep that implies that we are essentially shooting ourselves in the foot!!

That is some pretty interesting stuff huh?

Now here is my dilemma. I am a Paramedic, because of such I work two 24 hour shifts. From 7am-7am the following day. That’s two days a week that I cannot guarantee proper sleep. Those days I am at the mercy of the general public, the EMS Gods, and my overall tendency of bad-luck. Sometimes I get to bury my face in that pillow for a solid 6(ish) hours, and sometimes I can only day-dream about it at 3 in the morning. There is no rhyme or reason to it at all. So…that being said, short of a major schedule change or career change I cannot have any control over the sleep I get on those two days. I have accepted it, I will still complain about it, but there is nothing that I can do about it.

I do, however, have control over the sleep I get on my days off. I have selected not to pick up overtime on the overnight tours (11pm to 7am) unless it is absolutely necessary. I encourage all of you out there to really take a look at what you are getting for sleep, or not getting in many cases.

I plan on being much more aware of my sleeping patterns in order to truly reach my health goals.

For more information, check out this article that I used for most of the information in this post:

Rawls-Meehan, Martin (June 2012). Sleeping For Performance. Retrieved from: journal.crossfit.com/2012/06/sleeping-for-performance.tpl

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