Wednesday, August 5, 2009

05 August 2009

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

WOD: Rest day.

Woke up at 8 AM. Crashed last night and didn't set my alarm. Obviously didn't make it to my 6:15AM CrossFit class. I have not been getting enough sleep lately. Wednesday of last week was the same way. I've been working too late and getting up too early. I've been drinking more and more coffee. It seems that Wednesday is the day it catches up with me.

Everyone has heard that lack of sleep is bad, but I found some interesting tidbits in this article from the Washington Post. Here are portions of the article jumped out at me:

Physiologic studies suggest that a sleep deficit may put the body into a state of high alert, increasing the production of stress hormones and driving up blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. Moreover, people who are sleep-deprived have elevated levels of substances in the blood that indicate a heightened state of inflammation in the body, which has also recently emerged as a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.

"Based on our findings, we believe that if you lose sleep that your body needs, then you produce these inflammatory markers that on a chronic basis can create low-grade inflammation and predispose you to cardiovascular events and a shorter life span," said Alexandros N. Vgontzas of Pennsylvania State University, who recently presented data at a scientific meeting indicating that naps can help counter harmful effects of sleep loss.

"Inflammation" is a key word because exercise induces major inflammation in the body - to the muscles in particular - and eating zone/paleo is proven to help repair and reduce inflammation in the body. Adequate sleep is also key here... whoops.

Other researchers have found that even mild sleep deprivation quickly disrupts normal levels of the recently discovered hormones ghrelin and leptin, which regulate appetite. That fits with the theory that humans may be genetically wired to be awake at night only when they need to be searching for food or fending off danger -- circumstances when they would need to eat to have enough energy.

I suppose that since I'm not up late hunting and gathering to stay alive, sleep deprivation doesn't count as part of the paleolithic diet...

In addition, studies show sleep-deprived people tend to develop problems regulating their blood sugar, which may put them at increased risk for diabetes.

"Regulating blood sugar" is another important point. If you read Dr. Barry Sears' book "Enter The Zone" you'll learn that maintaining health over any period of time is all about balancing your blood sugar levels. It also happens that this is key to your athletic performance, and recovery for that matter. Now go re-read the parts above.

It's time to fix what I've been doing wrong. Tonight I'll be in bed no later than 10PM. Make sure you are getting enough sleep!

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