Insufficient Sleep & Suboptimal Performance in Forgotten Goals

0 96

Not enough sleep

Halfway into the Forgotten Goals challenge and I had used up all three failure cheats for my goal to sleep well. The objective was to get at least 6.5 hours of shuteye daily for 30 days, with an additional condition that bedtime had to be before 3 am.

Consequences of being sleep-deprived

I failed to get enough sleep and suffered the following consequences:

  • I couldn’t keep up with intense workout routines due to lethargy, nausea and migraines
  • I was easily riled up during morning commute to work
  • I binge ate to cope with emotional lows and migraines
  • I fell behind on Way Of Ninja’s to-do list
  • I fell ill from having weakened immunity due to poor sleep (plus it was flu season)

Falling ill during the challenge meant forgoing 10 days of physical activity – lesser time to work on my two other goals.

Without maintaining one’s mental well-being, all other aspects of life falls apart eventually. I was eating unhealthily, working out at suboptimal levels, unproductive with Way Of Ninja and becoming melancholic from the setbacks that snowballed due to having a fatigued state of mind. My resolution for the year was to attain balance in life and insufficient sleep was the undoing of it all.

Ultimately, depriving myself of this simple but essential need for proper sleep set off a chain of events that upset the balance in my life that I was seeking.

Obstacles to Sleeping Well

Before this challenge, I explained away my consistent failure to sleep well as mere habit, and thus tried to tackle this issue by force. But there was definitely something more. Having observed my bedtime routine and thoughts for a week, I discovered these impediments that made me procrastinate sleep.

1. Feeling Unproductive at the end of the day

Due to having an unrealistic to-do list (that rarely accounts for duration), I tend to have many outstanding to-do’s at the end of the day. This makes me feel unproductive. I cope with those feelings by delaying bedtime to get more done. In doing so, I set myself for a repeating cycle of failure because I don’t have the energy and mental capacity to get things done the next day.

2. Poor perception of time

The postponement of bedtime is worsened by my altered perception of time. Because I was so used to sleeping in the wee hours of the morning in the past, I perceived midnight as early.

3. Lack of a bedtime routine or ritual

Lacking a familiar routine to signal the end of the day contributes to my sleep procrastination issue. After my last to-do is done, I rush to the toilet to brush my teeth before going to bed. Not being able to wind down and the process of rushing makes it harder to sleep.

Making Sleep Work… Again

In the days before the challenge ended, I tackled my “sleep enough” goal again by establishing a sleep routine that allowed for time to wind down. To avoid last-minute shocks or tasks, I avoided checking emails in the late evening. And if I had sudden inspiration close to bedtime, I recorded my thoughts for decision-making the next day.

What followed from these changes were the following positive impacts to my resolution on balance:

  • Significant productivity with tackling my daily to-do’s
  • Workouts felt less like a torture and were fun
  • Fewer incidences of migraines and nausea
  • Calmer attitude, much fewer mood swings and better control over irritation with commuters

Is all well for my “sleep enough” goal?

No. My success with sleeping well only apply to weekdays. It is still a struggle to sleep before 3am on weekends.

I hate losing Saturday mornings and feeling lethargic during my calisthenics and MovNat/parkour training routine. Furthermore, I want to be productive and enjoy other activities. So, I will be focusing on sleeping before 3am on weekends during May. Exceptions, of course, apply if I am out with friends or have planned way before hand some kind of night training (very unlikely).

What about physical activity goals?

Despite losing days from falling ill, I exceeded the benchmarks for both my calisthenics goals and movement goals from testing myself on May 1.

These are some points to improve upon as the next step:

  • Performing Lying Leg Raises while barefoot was easier than wearing shoes (as in the test). When training at home while barefoot, I need to add repetitions.
  • The last pull-up of the ten repetitions was barely at chest-level. Need to improve and aim for 12 chest-level pullups as the next progression.
  • Focus on going even lower for straight bar dips. This will help with eventually doing muscle ups.
  • My right-side roll from high kneel position was barely passable as it was inconsistent. In the month of May, I will focus on training in right-side forward rolls and be mindful of weight distribution and center of gravity – these seem to be the issue with my right-side.