Sleep: An Undervalued Ergogenic Aid

Note: The following is a repost from the Whole9 Archives. Enjoy!

In February 2011, Dallas wrote an article for Performance Menu, the “journal of nutrition and athletic excellence” published each month by Greg Everett of Catalyst Athletics.  The article focused on the impact of sleep (or lack thereof) on your health and athletic performance.

Thanks to the generosity of Catalyst Athletics, today we are offering Dallas’ article for free – available to those without a subscription to PMenu. (Although if you don’t yet have a subscription, we can’t help but wonder why. Your health, performance and taste buds would all benefit from PMenu’s high caliber monthly offerings, and who doesn’t like the instant gratification of an on-line publication? The best part? You can subscribe for the whole year for only $30. Seriously – go do it.  We’ll wait.)

Here’s a preview from Dallas’ article.

Sleep: An Undervalued Ergogenic Aid

We all know we need sleep, and most of us would admit that we probably need more. Unfortunately, that knowledge often isn’t enough to compel us to take action to improve our sleep habits (or lack thereof). In many Western societies, the hard-charging, go-getting executive takes pride in sleeping less than his or her competitors, purportedly “getting more done” in any given day. (From a raw productivity perspective, that may be true, though research suggests that being chronically sleep deprived significantly impedes psychomotor function, memory retrieval, and… work productivity. So spending more hours getting stuff done – at the expense of sleep – makes you get less done in any given hour. Ah, the irony.)

In the realm of athletics, sleep seems to be the red-headed stepchild: clumsily acknowledged, generally overlooked, yet permanently part of the family. To the detriment of our health and performance, we often don’t give sleep proper priority. I think it’s high time that we help sleep come in from the cold.

Download the full PDF

You can download the full Performance Menu PDF here.

And as you couldn’t comment or post questions on the original article in PMenu, we’ll host them here – so feel free to post your thoughts below.

Enjoy – and tuck yourself in a little early tonight, okay?

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  1. Kelly says

    Thanks for this article, Dallas!

    I’m curious if you and Melissa have any thoughts or recommendations for a group of folks dealing with unavoidable long-term sleep deprivation of which you are now a part (congrats and I hope you guys are loving it): parents of babies. I’ve got an 8-month-old at home who wakes about 2x per night – not terrible, but our sleep is definitely never 100% perfect and is always interrupted. What can we do to compensate for the interrupted night sleep, if napping during the day isn’t always an option? (other than eating clean, of course!)

    • Paula says

      Try reading Bringing Up BeBe by Pamela Druckerman. The French have no trouble getting their infants to ‘do their nights’ by a the second month, tops. When the baby cries, they hear it and listen to make sure the baby puts itself back to sleep, even if it’s crying. If the kid continues to carry on, then they’ll go in as see what’s wrong. They give their infants the chance to learn to put themselves back to sleep.

      Where American parents make the mistake is when they hear the baby cry and then go right in to see what’s wrong….and wind up really waking up the baby. So now he’s awake awake, and now he’s up for hours.