The early bird gets screwed

A few days ago I read an article (I think it was in the June issue of Bicycling Magazine) that made me reconsider my sleep habits. The report was on a study conducted with athletes who slept 8hrs a night vs. those who slept 6hrs a night. The conclusion of the study was that the effect of sleeping 8hrs a night was found to be equivalent to that of taking performance enhancing drugs.

I usually average about 5-6hrs a sleep a night and had considered my ability to function on so little shut-eye a virtue. Apparently I was wrong, and since my current work schedule affords me the ability to sleep in, I determined that I would do just that. However, it’s easier said than done as old habits die hard.

As it would seem, my body is programmed to wake up well before I’ve clocked 8hrs, so I find that in order to accomplish my goal I have to put myself back to bed several times. In the grand scheme of things, going back to bed is a much better predicament to be in than that of waking up early to go to work, so I consider myself lucky.

Last night was a relatively uninterrupted 8hrs and I felt pretty good. My entire lower body was a wreck (see “fun run to furnace”) but my painfully clenched calf muscles, chaffed thighs, and aching SI joints were substantially improved from the day before. I arrived early at work and put in a little work out (see below) at the employee gym.

After a light warm-up, I hit the weights and felt surprisingly strong. Whether or not this was a placebo effect is irrelevant in my book as I consider results to be results, but I'm inclined to say that there is a connection. I'm also inclined to say that I probably didn't need a study to figure this one out.

I wonder if sleeping in makes you smarter too.

20 minute strength and power circuit

Warm up with 1 set of push-ups, squats, pull-ups, and dynamic flexibility movements (arm circles, bend and reach, leg swings, etc.) for about 5 minutes.

Perform exercises 1-3 back-to-back with no rest in between. Take no more than 15-30 seconds of rest before repeating the same group of exercises again. Do the entire circuit 3 times before moving on to second circuit. Follow the same protocol for the second circuit as you did the first.

1. Dumbbell bench press – maximum weight you can handle for 10 reps

2. Dumbbell 1-arm bench row – use same weight as you did for bench press for 10 reps on each arm

3. Broad Jumps – jump as far as you can, land, absorb the impact by bending your legs deeply, and push off again for a total of 15 jumps.

1. Dips – 10 with bodyweight

2. Pike push ups – put your feet up on a bench and the palms of your hands down on the ground. Straighten your legs so that your body forms an “L” shape. Perform 10 reps with good form. The exercise should feel similar to a military press with most of your body weight on your shoulders, traps, and triceps.

3. 1-arm cable rows- standing in an athletic stance (feet about shoulder width apart and knees bent slightly to drop your center of gravity) grab the handle of the cable with one hand and pull through your elbow. Keep your core engaged while you complete 10 reps on each arm.

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About Unknown

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
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  1. Yes, 8 hrs rack time does reset memory banks essential to academic performance as well. Research on teens who studied vs. teens who slept 8 hrs. revealed higher scores obtained by those who rec'd adequate rest, deep enough to enter REM. Apparently there's some truth to the adage, "Well, I guess I'll just have to sleep on it."