May 11, 2015
By: T.J. Murphy
Published at lavamagazine.com
At a recent lecture given in Austin, Texas, Dr. Kirk Parsley – an MD with credentials that extend from serving as a Navy SEAL to completing half-Ironmans – posed the following question:
Between the types of activities you may track in a training log, like diet, training and sleep, what has the greatest impact on your performance? There’s no comparison, Parsley said:
Sleep is the most important factor.
Key performance gauge from Dr Parsley’s TEDx talk ( @ 5:30 in the video):
Running 18 hr days (i.e. 6 hrs of sleep), translates into performance on par with a blood-alcohol level of 0.05.
Pulling an all-nighter translates into skill execution on par with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 – 0.10.
In Canada it is a criminal offence to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08, or 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. Think about that for a moment….
How many of us are going through life ‘half drunk’, all the while believing that we are healthy and fit?
In addition to the lack of sleep*, add the North American average of 1.5 servings of alcohol a day and we are 100% inebriated 100% of the time.** If the candles weren’t burning brightly enough at both ends, we finish our days with HIIT workouts, use NSAIDs and painkillers to round off the edges, fall to an illusion that we are prime specimens of athleticism and call this a normal, active, fit & healthy lifestyle.
What does this say about how we as a society function at work, at school, in relationships, while working out/training, while parenting and while driving? We claim to enjoy quality lifestyles, yet with what clarity can we possibly be living and making decisions if we are constantly ‘under the influence’ of a lack of sleep?
Regardless of how healthy we think we are, how much effort we make to eat well, how consistently we exercise, how many supplements, smoothies, and shakes we consume, how often we get a massage, an adjustment, or other health intervention, even with time spent meditating or practicing mindfulness… it doesn’t really matter if we don’t get enough sleep.
If you are not serious about sleep, then you cannot stake claim to being serious about your health, being at your best or delivering your best.
If you are an athlete – age group, masters, or pro – and if you are not serious about sleep, then you are not serious about your training, nor delivering your peak potential in competition.
Funny isn’t it? We seek the highest quality in our grocery items: organic, grass fed, free range, antibiotic and HGH free; we seek the highest quality in our sports gear: only top of the line equipment, clothing, and sports nutrition products; we seek the highest quality in our technological devices as we upgrade with each new release of hardware and software; we expect the highest quality from others when receiving service; but, when it comes down to seeking the highest quality from ourselves… we cut short on the single most important aspect to our own peak performance: sleep*.
To find more posts on sleep, click on the ‘sleep’ tag below.