Now if they just happen to be on your heavy training days or on the date of contest, what can you do? Let's first figure out what is happening to you right now, so we can best determine what things you can work on improving.
Let me interject here that I would strongly suggest trying Labrada Super Charge, if you haven't already. Read on to understand other things you can do to fix your sleep and get the deep rest that you need.
The average, healthy individual needs to live on a 25-hour cycle, but of course our planet is on a 24-hour cycle. So instead of switching planets, let's look at what you can do to better understand this.
Let's say your first night you sleep 7.5 hours. The next night if you go to bed an hour later, your body wants to get up an hour later.
Now many people do this by watching a late movie at the end of the week and then getting up for church later the next day, and they feel better and can't explain why.
Is it because you didn't have to go to work the next morning? No, it is because you are more in line with your body's need for sleep.
If you think about it, two days later you would go to bed two hours later than normal, then wake up two hours later than normal. If this pattern continues, then you will eventually be 12 hours out of synchronization. Then if you mapped this out, you get a wave pattern.
Scientists call this your Circadian Rhythms. Now don't go snoozing off just yet, recent research has shown that our hormones, specifically sex hormones are directly linked to this cycle and that means your growth and strength and power are linked to this rhythm.
What's really cool about this is that the color of your eyes seems to control this. Doctors in North Carolina found that a pigment in the eye called cryptochrome (CRY) drives mammals' circadian rhythms, the 24-hour biological timer that regulates numerous bodily functions.
Using bright lights has really shown some promise with rhythm control. Rick Odor, Ph.D., a member of the U.S. Master's Olympic Weightlifting Team, uses lights to help him be in control of his rhythms.
Since competition for him takes him around the globe, he will stare into a bright light for 15 to 30 minutes to match the likely lifting time at which he will be competing. He does this for several weeks prior to the event.
Finding Your Rhythms
To better control your cycles, first track them. Now there are some pretty expensive ways of doing this, but try this simple one first.
Keep track of yourself and your feelings. Do this on an hourly basis for one week. Feeling good is a high ebb (scored as a '10'), and feeling tired is a lower ebb (a '1').
During your waking hours, keep track hourly on a scale of 1 to 10 of how you are feeling. During this first week, try to keep sleep, exercise, work, and amount and time of food intake the same. With a little work and some simple charting, you can find your high ebbs.
Two or three high ebbs in increasing one hour increments shows the top of the cycle, then simply count down or up, by twelve hours, which is your low end of the cycle.
Recheck in another month. Optimizing your cycles can help you peak better during max efforts.
Tips For Improving Your Rhythms
In order to learn how to improve your sleep, and fight back "sleep debt" prior to working a night shift or traveling to a time zone that is over 8 hours away, try these simple steps to help control sleep problems:
- Before the first night shift, try napping for 2 to 3 hours in the evening.
- Inform your family that you need peace and quiet to be able to sleep in the daytime - you could use a "do not disturb" notice.
- Make sure that the bedroom is dark and cool, use white noise (a small fan).
- Think about using earplugs.
- Remember that tea and coffee are stimulants and also make you want to go to the toilet.
- Following your last night shift, try sleeping for only 3 or 4 hours, then stay awake all day and go to bed at your normal time.
- Increasing your fluid intake by ½ gallon per day.
- Try to get out into the sunlight two hours after your normal high ebb.
For Additional Information
Read more about Circadian Rhythms in this excellent book:
"The Body Clock Advantage: Finding Your Best Time of Day to Succeed In: Love, Work, Play, Exercise" by Matthew Edlund, January 2003, Adams Media Corporation. [link]