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  • #9495

    Just wanted to throw up a discussion on sleep. It’s not talked about very often and yet is crucial to every aspect of self-improvement. It effects our mental and physical performance, our metabolism, memory, emotions, and the processing of daily information. Inadequate sleep can throw off a whole week of training, focus, appetite, and motivation. Inadequate sleep at a chronic level is beginning to be linked to Alzheimer’s Disease.

    I recently read a book called “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker and it blew my mind. I have since started to log how much I sleep each night, and have been more cognizant of when I go to sleep and when I wake up. The author stresses the importance of sleep by illustrating that evolution, over it’s full course to date, has not phased out sleep, a function that takes up 1/3 of our lives. 1/3 of our lives not gathering food or working towards reproduction, and leaves us unconscious to our external environment – susceptible to danger and predation. Walker talks about the functions of the brain during sleep, how important it is to sleep during the right time of an individuals daily rhythm, and the roles of REM and Non-REM sleep through a course of 8 hours. He states several studies over the course of a couple decades on the effects of adequate/inadequate sleep on students, athletes, classical musicians, etc, and the results are astounding.

    I think it can be very beneficial to approach our sleep habits with the goal to optimize, just as we do with our training and nutrition. I would even go as far to say that adequate, quality sleep should be established and maintained before attempting to optimize training and nutrition with the expectation of progress and high-end results.

    It’s not a dull read, and if you’ve got a road trip or air travel coming up, download it on Audible and dig in.

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    Anonymous on #9498

    Thanks for posting this. It’s a worthwhile discussion.

    I’ve made the mistake in the past of cutting back on sleep so that I can fit in more training. (I blew up.) Now I joke to my friends that my most important workout is “Max Sleep”. It’s made a big difference.

    I’ll check out the book.

    Anonymous on #9505

    Bruno Schull; Who frequents these forums sent me by email an article from Scientific American that he summarized thus:

    Quick summary:
    Researchers discovered or named a hitherto unknown system of lymphatic-like vessels that encircle and run alongside blood vessels in the brain. They named it the “glymphatc system ” after the lymphatic system, and glia cells, which support neurons. Fluid flows at measurable rates in the gylmphatic system, mostly cerebrospinal fluid and plasma. The flow seems to help deliver metabolites to and clear waste products away from the brain. Here’s the crazy part; the flow GREATLY increases at night. One of the possible vital functions of sleep? To cleanse and revitalize the brain through the gylmphatic system?

    Sleep is the most important component in training adaptations. Even if you do not fully understand all the reasons it is easy to see its importance.


    Colin Simon on #9507

    I found this podcast pretty good, largely because she goes over other recovery tools that are frequently discussed at this site, but that sleep was the only one 100% guaranteed to improve performance.

    Perhaps more importantly, “get more sleep” in her thick Australian accent happened to etch itself into my brain.

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