Sleep Deprivation

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Sleep Deprivation

Post by Jungledoc » Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:33 pm

I think everyone agrees about the importance of sleep to fitness and health. Dan John calls it "the best fat loss, muscle gain supplement there is...." You are fortunate if you have a schedule that allows consistant, adequate sleep.

Many of us have jobs or other circumstances that cause interuptions in the schedule from time to time. Plus, some of us are naturally "night people". I really like staying up late, but unfortunately I have a morning person's job, and have to get up and get going in the morning. Because of my work I sometimes (often, lately) have nights with little sleep. That has a major impact on my lifting and on my recovery for the next couple of days. When I'm short of sleep, and it's a planned lifting day, I have to decide between, 1) working out as usual, 2) doing a limited or modified workout, or 3) skipping the workout all together.

How do the rest of you handle this?

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Post by TheHeb » Tue Dec 16, 2008 12:07 am

Like you, I'm a "night person." I'm still young though so I don't think it affects me as much. Basically I don't miss workouts from being tired (or for very many reasons) anymore, especially now that I'm on more of a weekly format, as it would destroy my planning. I usually compensate by napping, although this has the unfortunate side-effect of keeping me up even later than usual... I think just dropping a set from each lift (or something like that) would be a fine idea. It's better than missing the workout altogether.

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Post by Ironman » Tue Dec 16, 2008 3:59 am

I just take some caffeine and try to get through it. I have OCD/ADD so time management is a major challenge for me. The short sleep nights happen. Then of course working 12's, I have a couple short nights during my work week.

I'm a night person, but my schedule makes me even more so. I don't get off work until at least midnight. So I stay up pretty late.

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Post by KPj » Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:26 am

I just play it by ear. If it's a day that i'm lifting heavy and my warm up and warm up sets don't get me fired up, and I still feel really tired, I just know that I won't be lifing what I should be. If this is the case I just get my reps in - I don't change anything in terms of sets an reps. It's a good time for some technique work! Not to mention, it also provides a well needed kick in the a$$ to get my sleep pattern fixed. Normally, I feel my higher rep assistance stuff isn't affected.

If i'm not too bad, I just go for it. Normally i'm not too bad, the really bad days are quite rare.

When it's really bad, like, your eyes are half shut all day, then I go in and do what I call a 'prolonged warm up'. I spend more time than usual foam rolling, and do a 20 minute, instead of a 10 minute warm up, sometimes more. So my warm up can be 30 minutes in these days. My warm ups make me feel great, but they've got lot's of 'healthy stuff', in them, so I just take advantage of a bad situation and do more than usual. Then i'll go and do lower rep, lower intensity work out, again playing it by ear, and nothing too difficult, and again, i'll throw in some more healthy stuff - some more direct scap work or rotator cuff work, hip flexor mobilisations, iso holds etc. This normally means I come back next session with a bang.

So really, I do my warm up and see how I feel. Quite often i feel like crap then after my warm up, I feel 100%.

Also, on days that i'm sleep deprived, I try and compensate as much as I can with more calories. This may not be the best recommendation for the BB's ou there, and i'm not even sure how much it helps, but I just do it anyway. I also make sure I have a strong coffee before I head to the gym.

Sometimes i've tried to have a nap when I get in from work, but I feel that makes me feel worse. I don't think i'm a person that should go for naps - I feel like crap when I wake up from them.


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Post by daniel4738 » Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:07 am

DoD researcher P.A. Deuster in research used to develop preparation for the US Navy's BUDs course (Navy seals) suggests that sleep deprivation will not adversely affect physical performance until at least 96 hours of sleep deprivation.

However, it will affect mental ability after approximately 12 hours, motivation being a major sufferer.

Of course lifting without the coordination of the brain is probably not the best idea.

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Post by Jungledoc » Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:41 am

Yeah, naps cut both ways. They may make me feel better, but then they allow me to stay up later. Just now I woke up from an hour snoozing on the living room floor after having my back walked on by a 10 year-old girl (a great, and underated form of myofascial release, by the way, random, but those little heels can really dig in) and now I'm wide awake when I should be getting ready for bed.

Not being mentally alert can hurt you lifting, too. Sloppy technique on heavy lifts can result in injury. I was thinking about something else during deadlifts yesterday, lifted loose, and pulled something in my back. I think it's OK, but it really got my attention. I think I did that partly because of lack of sleep.

I also play it by ear when I'm short of sleep. Sometimes I know that I just need to stay away from the weights, go home, eat well, and get some sleep. Sometimes I make it more of an "active recovery" day, and lift low intensity, usually getting the planned reps in. Sometimes I just do the routine, but may not make all the reps.

I think I should go to bed now.

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Post by Jungledoc » Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:43 am

daniel4738 wrote:DoD researcher P.A. Deuster in research used to develop preparation for the US Navy's BUDs course (Navy seals) suggests that sleep deprivation will not adversely affect physical performance until at least 96 hours of sleep deprivation.

However, it will affect mental ability after approximately 12 hours, motivation being a major sufferer.

Of course lifting without the coordination of the brain is probably not the best idea.
I've been told that most special ops units use amphetamine to stay alert on prolonged operations. 4 days seems like an awful long time to me!

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Post by daniel4738 » Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:58 am

Jungledoc wrote:
daniel4738 wrote:DoD researcher P.A. Deuster in research used to develop preparation for the US Navy's BUDs course (Navy seals) suggests that sleep deprivation will not adversely affect physical performance until at least 96 hours of sleep deprivation.

However, it will affect mental ability after approximately 12 hours, motivation being a major sufferer.

Of course lifting without the coordination of the brain is probably not the best idea.
I've been told that most special ops units use amphetamine to stay alert on prolonged operations. 4 days seems like an awful long time to me!
I would have said strength of character is the more likely cause for alertness :D

I am pretty sure that in the UK, taking any form of drugs, even prescription drugs is a big no-no. Things like holding a pen while you are on sentry and handing it onto the next person, combined with peer pressure probably removes those who cannot stay awake.

I guess if you have the strength of character to complete sf selection, you are probably strong enough to keep awake and alert.

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Post by Proper Knob » Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:59 am


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Post by Jungledoc » Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:18 pm

I was told by a man who claimed to have participated in "dark ops" inside a Communist country that amphetamine use was routine. It makes sense to me. If I were doing something like that for 3-4 days without sleep, I'd want the guy next to me to be on amphetamine!

The article is interesting, especially in that the lawyers claim that the pilots' judgement was impared by the amphetamine. That's not likely the case. Amphetamine doesn't impare judgement when used in this way, but improves it. Ask the parents of any ADHD kid on Adderal!

Back on topic, I think lack of sleep does indeed affect the quality of training well before 96 hours! Of course, I haven't been through SEALS training.

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Post by Matt Z » Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:16 pm

I've heard of pilots using amphetamines on actual combat missions, but I'm not sure about training missions.

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Post by ninjackn » Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:17 pm

Different degrees of sleepiness have different degrees of "slacking" in my workout that day.

If it's not too bad and I haven't been hacking my week with coffee then i'll drink some coffee about half an hour or so before the workout and go with the normal routine.

When dealing with little sleep the whole week and forcing myself up in the mornings with coffee I'll cut out one or two of the auxiliary exercises and often will try to get my target reps and weight for that day. IE if i'm suppose to squat 205lbs for 8 reps I might end up only doing 6 reps, resting a few minutes and getting the last 2. I don't know if it has any scientific merit but it's more of a mental thing so I can say I did the number of reps I was suppose to that day (even if it was broken into multiple "sets") and I didn't break my weekly workout routine.

If I'm dead tired with very little rest I'll do the warm up sets and call it quits.


As good as naps of the proper time are for you, they just mess my sleep schedule up because I can never hit the optimal time for a nap correctly.

I'm sure as everyone knows: There is no substitute for sleep. My best "solution" for me is just to force myself up early in the morning and get through day with some coffee and go to bed earlier that night.

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Post by hoosegow » Tue Dec 16, 2008 8:06 pm

Lift, don't sleep. You can sleep when you are dead. Kidding, kind of.

Actually, the worst part is always just getting started. I then lift and it makes me sleep better. I don't sleep well unless I lift.

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Post by ellerbus » Tue Dec 16, 2008 8:51 pm

hoosegow wrote:Lift, don't sleep. You can sleep when you are dead. Kidding, kind of.
Works pretty well until you start sleeping thru your alarm clock. I do that when my body finally says "You need to sleep".

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Post by Jungledoc » Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:13 pm

I recently dozed off during rest between sets. When I woke up it took a few seconds to figure out where I was and why. Fortunately, I was nearly done anyway, so I finished and went home. I suppose that's another good reason to do your hardest lifts first!

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