And Dream of Sheep …….
Let me be weak, let me sleep and dream of sheep
Oh I’ll wake up to any sound of engines
Every gull a seeking craft
I can’t keep my eyes open
Wish I had my radio
I’d tune into some friendly voices
Kate Bush – And Dream of Sheep
I used to work 27 hours straight, technically I was on call but there were numerous times that you would be lucky to get 20 minutes. This unsurprisingly was not healthy I then changed jobs I still had to work long shifts of on call but this time the longest one was 18 hours. The thing though there were other normal length shifts in the same week but they were all at unsocial and different times. Surprisingly this seemed to be worse for me that one 27 hour shift every week or two. There’s this idea that when your younger that you can get away with less sleep I’d argue that isn’t the case I know of many older people who survive on what could be considered lower than average sleep.
To me as with many things its consistency and routine that work the best. In my younger days (am I sounding old now) I frequently did many things at various times. I remember one week where I managed to go to Reading Festival at the weekend then mid week on consecutive days saw Soundgarden, Jane’s Addiction and Prong live while working in the daytime. Un surprisingly I sent most of the following weekend on the sofa sleeping and watching dodgy films.
My life is very different now my main responsibility is caring for my Wife which means sleep wise I am normally woken at least 3 to 4 times to help her during the night. In reality I’ve not had an unbroken night of sleep for 7 years or more. What I’ve realised is to improve my running and to generally feel better I need to get good sleep and not just one day. I need it to be consistent from day to day. So I’ve been pushing my bedtime forward and tried to stick to this in a consistent way. This seems to have helped I achieve more in the day and get what I need done and more.
I have also started playing with other things. I used to always sleep with the bedroom window open all year round (unless there was storms obviously). Our house is a new build and has the most complicated heating system known to man. Part of that system and to keep it ‘efficient’ is to keep the windows closed the majority of the time. Due to that I’ve got out of the window habit. I was watching a Rich Roll Vlog the other day and he was saying how sometimes he’s been experimenting sleeping on his roof in a tent (honestly) because at times his wife likes the bedroom a lot warmer than he finds comfortable. He was saying how much more restful he has found his sleep. This week though I’ve tried it again and, opening the window not sleeping on the roof, and it’s made a big difference. I feel a lot more rested in the morning.
Sleep is important for both Athletic performance and day to day life it’s important not to underestimate that. Occasional days or weeks of dodgy sleep sometimes can’t be avoided. However if possible it’s great to get into a routine so you can dream of sheep.