Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What the HUMR? Da Vinci Sleep

Let me start off this week by revealing to you this fact: I am not a doctor. This may shock some of you, but I wanted to clear this up before dispensing my medical opinion as fact.

It’s no secret that I have been getting far less sleep the past 4 and half months. This largely has to do with the small human that now sleeps next to Kathleen and I’s bed. This transition has gone really well overall, but there’s no arguing that our sleep patterns have been impacted. Gone are the days of actually sleeping the “doctor recommended” 7 to 9 hours a night. At the beginning Kathleen told me I was actually sleeping with my eyes half open. Some weeks I’ve felt more like Kramer in the Seinfeld episode where he attempts to only sleep 20 minutes every three hours.  

Or who can forget the Kenny Roasters Chicken store that caused Kramer to go insane from lack of sleep...

Leading up to the Red Hot 55k a few weeks ago, I was worried that this would impact my performance. Funny thing is, it didn’t. And surprisingly, my legs have felt awesome in my recovery post-race. Curious as to how this could happen, I went and “Googled” if somehow your body can become accustom to less un-interrupted sleep. After minutes of intense research I concluded this was not possible. The Internet and it's so called anonymous experts told me so. But, as an experiment of one, I seem to be proving these medical professionals wrong.

Aside from my body spontaneously acclimating to less sleep, there were a few things I tried to do to mitigate my fatigue.

1. Know your limits

Past history with working out at Bomber allowed me to determine that 55 MPW is the absolute max number of miles I can handle without being a complete zombie. And that’s on good sleep. Mileage reduction was in order, but how?

2. Just say no to “junk” miles

I fixate on weekly mileage counts. Historically I would do this even at the expense of just getting in some “junk” miles. No sleep meant that this had to stop. Sleep walking through a meaningless 7 mile run was pointless. More purposeful running was needed.

3. Limit the number of days I run
I would run every day if I let myself. It’s just something I’ve pretty much done habitually since 2004. A lot of times my day doesn’t feel complete without running. But, with other, more important commitments (and my general sanity at stake) I decided to only run 5 days a week max. So far it's worked out fairly well.

Maybe I should try this Da Vinci sleep technique... think of all the things I could get done!


Breein Clark said...

You aren't a doctor?

Harry said...

I am not... surprising right?

Lori Burlison said...

I'm in agreement with your theory that you can acclimate to less sleep and be a lot more productive. I get more done in less time during a busy schedule than when I have "junk" hours. In Lori's trail world there are no "junk" miles. I love the DaVinci sleep.

Lori Burlison said...

Picture... I love the DaVinci sleep picture.

Debbie and Lane said...

It's amazing how we can adapt to the 'new normal'. Nice post Dr. Fluman.