Remember when I ran a 5K a few months ago and I was kind of disappointed in my performance? I chalked it up to being tired. I hadn’t been getting the sleep I needed, so I was sluggish. My reaction time was delayed. My reflexes were slow. I thought that was the story. And it probably was the story, just not all of it. Not getting enough sleep, it turns out, besides making you sluggish and slow, also prevents your muscles from healing as well as they could have from all that hardcore training. And the interesting thing is that it actually doesn’t take all that much more sleep to give your body an added boost. I tend to think of sleep in hours, — I can probably get 7 a night, but not 8 — but even 20 extra minutes can do great things for your muscles. And 7 hours 20 minutes sounds doable. It doesn’t even have to be during the night. Twenty minutes in the middle of the day can help. (I know, I know. Who has the freedom to lie down for 20 minutes in the middle of the day? But just in case you do . . . take advantage.)

Now that I’m on the homestretch of training, I’m focusing more on resting, keeping injuries at bay, and letting my muscles heal. It makes me so happy to know that I’m not slacking off at all if I give into the Manchild and lie down with him for a half hour or so, rather than doing the dishes or writing or organizing all the stuff that has accumulated in our bedroom over the past 8 months. I’m not being lazy. I’m building my muscles.

Sleep is so not over-rated.

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