Tag Archives: sleep deprivation

Sleep

Commuting takes up a good amount of my day – approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes for a round trip. I usually wake up at 5:15 AM, leave the house a little past 6:15 AM to beat the morning rush hour traffic. Work ends at 5:00 PM. To get to my training venues in Quezon City, I have to travel a good 2 hours from Makati, the central business district.

One of the main challenges of juggling a non-athletics career with track & field aspirations is getting a full night’s sleep. With such a schedule, my weeknight training sessions are limited to approximately 2 hours. Even with such a cap, I hardly get the minimum 7 hours of shut-eye. If I train too long, I’d lose valuable sleeping time.

I must admit that I was quite reckless when I was younger. I lasted through four years of high school with an average of 4 hours of sleep per weekday. My sleeping habits improved in college, in light of the more flexible schedule. But still, I couldn’t avoid burning the midnight oil. As a student-athlete, my academic responsibilities held more weight than my dreams of athletics glory.

During the nascent days of my track & field comeback, I read a startling article about an Indian telecoms executive who died of heart failure. He led an active lifestyle, regularly taking part in marathons and following a strict physical fitness routine. But he only slept for an average of 4 hours a day – something we have in common!

Read about Ranjan Das here

Read more about sleep deprivation here

There and then, I’ve made a resolution to sleep better. I’ve dramatically cut back on unnecessary nights-out. I became more conscious of my schedule as I dusted off my sprinting spikes and wore those oh-so-comfy track kits.

A year after I came back to my sprint hurdling ways, I can say that I’ve improved considerably, increasing my average sleep time during the workweek to about 6 hours a day. At the times when I’m sleep-deprived, I make it a point NOT to train, to save my body from further damage. At the expense of my bloated sense of pride, I am now listening to the whispers of my body.

I am still a long way from my goals in life. I know for a fact that sleeping adequately is more than just baby steps.

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Sleep deprived

I’ve slept an average of 4 hours and 20 minutes since Sunday, way below the minimum 7 hours. Unsurprisingly, I felt irritable the entire week. Waking up became an unbearable chore, the hour long commute to Makati – a Calvary of intermittent naps.

Needless to say, my workouts have suffered quite a bit from my lack of shut-eye. Instead of maximizing the 1 1/2 hour long sessions, I cut down on the training volume and intensity just to be on the safe side. After all, a sleep deprived athlete is an injury prone athlete.

This reminded me of my college days, when even an hour’s worth of sleep did not deter training. But then again, sleepless nights did not happen for 5 consecutive days, in light of flexible college schedules. Work has been less merciful. The sheer distance and the exponential worsening of traffic between Quezon City and Makati eats up a considerable amount of my time.

Hence, I could not train as much as I wanted or sleep adequately. My post-college training routine is a compromise between sleep, workouts and the occasional night out.

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