Recently something fascinating happened to me and I want to tell you about it.
Forgetting to scale my sleep when working out
Gradually, over the last year or so, I started to work out a lot more. I hit the gym roughly 5 times a week. It’s been a great way to strike a balance between the crazy startup life with its ups and downs.
A few things became very clear to me. To get stronger and more fit, I had to work out more. That’s probably the most obvious. Secondly, I realized, I’ll have to eat more. Also, still fairly obvious.
But then, I got it completely wrong. As I got more and more fit, I got more and more tired. That didn’t make sense to me. Shouldn’t I, as I am now more fit, be less tired? That’s at least what I had assumed and it took me some digging and research to find out, this might not quite be how it works.
The more I trained, the more I ate, the more I would need sleep. These days I’m getting around 9-9.5 hours of sleep in a 24 hour cycle (~8 hours/night and 1-2 25 minute naps in the afternoon). It’s as if I somehow thought everything could get more, and sleep could get less.
Also read: Sleep – How Important Is It?
Changing both my behavior (sleeping more) and attitude (not feeling bad for sleeping more), made a big difference to my happiness.
On top of that, it wasn’t surprising for me to find out that professional athletes sleep 10-11 hours every night.
Why did I forget about this?
Generally, I don’t think that this is something to worry about. I don’t think that’s what we should be focused on at the beginning.
When you go to the gym your goal isn’t to finally hit that 10 hours of sleep/night mark.
Whilst sleep is incredibly important, it’s just more an effect than a cause. It’s something that pops out, as you poke in.
The key, I believe is to keep an open mind and stay reflective. I found that if we do that, all these things, that come in as effects are being noticed and you’ll take care of them.
We grow in circles
We have this idea, that we want our business, our revenues, our whatever to grow up and to the right. It’s a 2D graph that moves.
When I thought about the above, I realized, that that might not be how we grow things actually. It’s more like a circle, that gets bigger as a whole. If you just look at what grows up and to the right (strength), you forget that something might grow up and to the left too (sleep).
It reminds me of the fact that machines often operate in the up and to the right way. We humans are much more cyclical so a circle that grows as a whole actually might make more sense.