Sleep is good for you, good sleep is even better!
This was something that was drilled into me when I was training with a tri squad. “If you don’t treat your recovery as one of your training sessions, then you’re not getting the benefit out of those sessions” my coach chided.
Tony echoed this sentiment when we first started planning my program with his version “Most people don’t under train to get their results, they under recover.”
My wife is a sleep scientist and she is well aware of the value and importance of a good nights sleep. By good, she means sufficient, uninterrupted and getting into REM. Psychologists are intrigued by the purpose of sleep and often disagree. One thing they do agree on is that sleep is restorative. My sleeping patterns have long been a little funny. I’m a bit of a night owl and have a bit of trouble actually ‘letting go’ of my day and heading to bed. Once in bed I can lie there for several hours before falling to sleep. This is not frequent, but not uncommon. On average I’d say it takes me about 45 mins to get to sleep. Once asleep I’m usually ok, unless I need to go to the loo… The problem with this late to bed approach is that ideally it coincides with a late to rise philosophy. All well and good when your time is your own, but somewhat problematic if you have somewhere to be or something to do (like get your training in). The thing is, I’m a bit of a morning person too. Once into the routine, I appreciate the early starts and getting the jump on the world.
So anyway, I mentioned somewhere that this program is not just a body transformation (hopefully it is that) but more of a sustainable lifestyle approach that is balanced and effective. So, taking on my two experts’ advice, I’m going to get my recovery in. For the past week I’ve been heading to bed about an hour earlier and I’ve noticed an improvement on my daily rating of sleep quality. I’m still waking a little groggy, but seem to be having less trouble getting out of bed and going wherever I need to go, like the pool or the gym.
Today was a recovery day but I didn’t get to sleep in. Instead I attended the TEDxBrisbane conference at the State Library and heard a number of stimulating discussions. I decided to exercise my mind as much as I focus on my body and this was a great forum to do so and I’m sure it constitutes recovery. Perhaps the most notable was a video of Steve Jobs’ commencement address to Stanford University graduates. He shares 3 stories. One about joining the dots in your life. Another about love and loss. And the third, most poignant given his recent passing, was about death. Here’s the speech if you’re interested.