Sleep Debt + Performance

It has come to my attention that my physical performance has decreased in the past 6 months. Shocking coming from a trainer, but it is true. And it had nothing to do with the amount of time spent in the gym, my willpower and determination or my exercise selection. I really had no idea why this was happening so I did some biohacking and research. The one factor that kept coming up was a consistent decline in sleep. Quality and quantity.

Sleep debt is a cumulative issue. In the words of research, sleep debt “has a neurobiological cost which accumulates over time.” After one week, 25 percent of the six-hour group was falling asleep at random times throughout the day. After two weeks, the six-hour group had performance deficits that were the same as if they had stayed up for two days straight. Let me repeat that: if you get 6 hours of sleep per night for two weeks straight, your mental and physical performance declines to the same level as if you had stayed awake for 48 hours straight. [4]

Why? Well in the past 6 months (since September) the following has changed:

1. I moved into a new apartment with an extremely loud alley. 

2. I was working until 8pm most nights.

3. My room had a more open floor plan which led to a subconscious anxious state that made it difficult to fall asleep.

4. I have been way more social which means more outings at night.

With all of these factors involved, I was averaging about 6 hours of sleep a night, not recovering from my workouts, becoming cranky during the day, stressed out and started to gain weight. 

 It really wasn't until I felt like I hit a breaking point that I realized how little sleep I was actually getting. Especially for the amount of physical and mental energy I was using throughout the day. 

 I thought I needed to quit my job, move to Costa Rica, tell job I’m out and lay on the beach for 24 hours. But in reality, I just needed more sleep. Do you ever notice how everything is exacerbated when you're tired?

 So I decided to evaluate which factors I could change. When one of the things I value the most in my life suffers, I am definitely willing to do everything I can to make a change.

Let's reflect (honestly) on you. If you are trying to lose weight, gain strength, increase cognitive performance, do better at work or relieve stress, and are having a very hard time getting there, maybe it's as simple as the amount of shut eye you are getting. 

Read this article for some great information.



Andrea Rodgers