Was It Sleep?

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Today was President’s Day. Our office was closed, so I slept in. I finally got up at 10AM as Sidney’s whining reached peak levels and I had to take him out for a walk.

I went to bed late the night before, around 2:30AM. I had been binge watching episodes of Mozart in the Jungle on my laptop. Let’s say I finally got into a sound sleep mode around 3AM and started waking up around 9, falling in and out of sleep and lingering in bed. Point is, I felt pretty well rested on about 6-7 hours of sleep.

I had a leisurely breakfast with Mel, took my coffee and later my tea, and caught up on work. Around 6PM, I made the hourlong trek to Chelsea Piers for my Monday evening workout with Andy.

We take our Monday evening workouts seriously. We have a nice structure to it, and we’ve been sticking with it for almost two years. We start off with a one-mile jog. We then stretch for 10 minutes. Then we go into our various routines that mix up high intensity interval training with some standard fare lifting and some stuff that reminds me of drills I used to do when I played football in high school. We wind down with an ab workout and then stretch for another 10 minutes. All of this takes anywhere between 90-100 minutes. And then we change our sneakers and get down to business on the basketball court.

It’s pretty late by the time we hit the court, so there aren’t many games going on. Sometimes we’ll get in on a 5-on-5 or 4-on-4 game, but we’ve often been disappointed by the no-defense style of play. So we usually opt for an intense best-out-of-three one-on-one matchup. We play with 1- and 2-pointers up to 12 points. If you can drain six 2-pointers, you win the game.

I’m sharing all of this because today, I felt different. Usually, by the time I’m done with the workout, I am beat. My legs and arms are uncooperative, and I’m fighting mental fatigue. My shots mostly fall short, and I usually find myself taking poorly formed jumpers that overcompensate for my failing strength. I falter, my defense breaks down, and I don’t go after loose balls. And, sadly, Andy typically gets the best of three games.

Maybe it was because my shot was on and I was lucky, but I was more impressed by the strength I had in my legs. I felt great jumping, shifting, and changing directions. I gave Andy some trouble whenever he drove to the hoop. I gobbled up the loose balls. And I had no trouble pulling up for a jumper and making the shot. I beat Andy 13-1 and 13-2 the first two games. We rarely blow each other out this badly. I even shot a two-pointer to end both games so I could earn a little extra credit. Andy was pissed, and we ended up playing a third game even though I had won the best of three. The third one was a lot closer, but when Andy pulled up to within one at 9-8, I sank a couple of two pointers to end the game, 13-8. Another game with extra credit.

As I reflected on the game over our post-workout dinner at Westville, I could only point to one difference: the fact that I didn’t have work and that I was able get more sleep the night before. A typical Monday for me starts at 6:30AM. The night before, trying to finish all my work, I’m usually up until 12:30AM or somethings 1AM. I’m finally fully asleep probably around 1/1:30AM, which means about 5 or so hours in bed. Add to that the stresses of getting ready in the morning. I’m going to write up a post one of these days that details the number of actions I need to take to get from my waking state in bed to the office. It’s a very complex set of moves that all need to go well in order for me to make it to work on time. I know everyone has some variation of this, and no matter how much you try to simplify it, I’m still amazed at the various mental and physical functions required for a successful get-up-and-go-to-work routine. Without going through this and being able to sleep as long as I want to, I found my energy level much higher than usual. I also think it helped that I didn’t have work, but I did spend a big chunk of time doing work at home.

I have more investigating to do, but as I burn precious sleep minutes trying to finish writing, I know I’ll have to devise some systems to ensure that I get more sleep.


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