Lack of Sleep and it’s Effect on Training and Life

Lack of Sleep and it’s Effect on Training and Life

Sleep. Or the Lack of.

Every parent has vivid memories of being low on sleep during the newborn and sometimes well into toddler days. These days, luckily my minions sleep through the night, or atleast they are smart enough to know NOT to wake me up when I’m asleep. Especially on the days I’m up at 4:xx AM trying to get a run/ride/swim in before work. 

It was hard in the beginning, but then I got used to the routine as I got into consistent training – got to get those green boxes in Training Peaks! As long as I went to bed at a decent time of 9:30-10:00am, I could function on about 6 hours of sleep. (I would also sneak in a short nap in the car at lunchtime sometimes)

But then something changed last spring/summer and I was getting waking up in the early hours of the morning. Waking up at 2 or 3am when your alarm is set for 4:00am is the Universe being meal and cruel to you! 

Lack of Sleep and it's Effect on Training and Life

So running low on sleep, I turned

  • Momzilla. The minions know to stay away from me, unless they are short on sleep as well, in which case it is mini-WW!
  • Weepy. I am over dramatic and make a huge deal our of everything and everything makes me cry.
  • Munchy. Iโ€™m not really hungry, but I have an overwhelming urge to snack and keep munching all. the. time.
  • Lethargic. I just donโ€™t have the mental will to move or do productive work, whether it is knocking out some stuff for work, or getting up to hit the gym or just putting things away at home.
  • Out of Focus. On the rare occasion that I am able to get moving, I am afflicted with major ADD and I cannot complete what I start – like this post was started a while back in a sleep deprived state and it sat so for quite a while.

Even though I’m obsessed about running and triathlon, I am smart enough to understand that overtraining contributes majorly to fatigue and lack of sleep.

Lack of sleep in turn contributes to

  • fatigue during training,
  • decrease in immunity to fight colds and all the nasty bugs the minions bring home,
  • hinders rebuilding of the tiny breakdown of muscle fibers that happens after hard training.

So after I finished up with the London Marathon, I backed off. I slept in until 6am, I relaxed in the evening and went to bed not stressing out about the next day. 

In fact, I  tried a lot things to not put myself in that sleep deprived state.

  • Avoid watching TV or the Phone, etc before getting to bed.
  • Early to bed, early to rise! Bedtime at 9:30-10:00pm.
  • No exercise for atleast 2-3 hours before bedtime.
  • Cut out all no sugar after 5pm, and even cut out all sugar all day for 30 days!

Has it helped? 

Nope. 

I still wake up about 4.5-5 hrs after I’ve fallen asleep. Worse, I am starting to get a back pain!!! 

The one thing that I can think of is a good mattress.  Especially with that back pain or back stiffness that wakes me up. I’ve had my fair share of trying to find a mattress after I gave away mine of 15 years old. I’ll be sharing my (unsuccessful) mattress quest in the following weeks! 

How has lack of sleep affected your training? What steps have you taken to get the adequate amount of sleep you need?
Have you taken a major step like changing mattresses to sleep better?

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  • CA Lenk

    I’ve had to cut out all sugar from my diet , it is so depressing, but after the first week of no sugar I ‘m able to sleep all the way through the night AND when I am woken up (by my munchkins for example) I can now fall back asleep. I tried it last summer and went sugar free for over 3 months, it was amazing, but eventually life took over and sugar started creeping in and the insomnia became crazy again….so now we are back to no sugar and within a week i’m starting to sleep through the night again!

    • Sugar is a true addictive substance!! When I gave sugar up, I’m better at falling asleep.
      Just wish I would’nt wake up sore every morning ๐Ÿ™

  • Guest

    Can relate but no answers. If I sleep 5 hours total it’s a miracle. I toss and turn all night but it has been worse the last couple of months.
    – Sharon on FaceBook

  • Rachel

    Oh I can relate. We bought a mattress about 10 years ago, then we thought it was “old” so we bought a new one about a year and a half ago. I shit you not, I have not slept for a year and a half. It was horrific. The “old” mattress was in the guest room so we decided to do a test and swap them out. Now I can finally sleep again… it’s not good sleep because I’m still old, but it’s better than it was!

    • I wish I had kept my old mattress (15 years old) ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ I thought keeping it would procrastinate me from buying a new one and just got rid of everything in my bedroom – mattress and furniture.

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