90 days, folks. That’s 3 months. A lot can happen in 3 months. A lot needs to happen. I’ve got every week planned. I’ve got all of the needed steps mapped out. I thought I’d thought of everything. I was wrong.
What I didn’t plan for was margin. I didn’t plan for “what if”. I didn’t leave room for anything unexpected… Oops.
If you follow along on FaceBook, you know that this week I got sick. In fact, this is day 8 of a miserable, horrible, fever ridden, cough my lungs up, missed several days of work cold/flu episode. I haven’t been sick in probably 5-6 years and I have to say, I wasn’t missing anything!
All that said, I’ve still been putting inside. I’ve been putting poorly, but I’ve been putting. I’m stubborn that way. I had a plan dammit! I’m not letting some microscopic germs pull me away from that. While I can still force myself to practice putting, there’s one thing I can’t force myself to do. One critical, all important thing that impacts the quality of my practice, my play, my thinking, my mood, and my overall satisfaction with life. I can’t for the life of me get a good night’s sleep when I’m sick like this.
I mentioned in a previous GBO update that sleep was a no compromise issue for me. It’s something that is of the highest priority. But I didn’t really go any deeper than that. I think this week is the perfect opportunity to do just that.
Whether you are preparing for the GBO, your local leagues, a casual round with your buddies, or a challenging day with the in-laws, there is nothing more important to your success than sleep. It’s #1 on my list of most important health practices. It falls above both diet and exercise. It’s simply the single most important thing you can do for yourself.
It seems that lack of sleep is worn like a badge of honor in our society. Donald Trump extols the virtues of little to no sleep each night. Some of the most successful people in the world talk about the key to their success is getting up at 4am every day, on just a few hours of sleep, and “getting more done before 9am than you get done all day”. Well, I’m calling shenanigans. SHENANIGANS!!!! I CALL SHENANIGANS!!!!
I’m sorry, that all makes for good sound bites, but the research and the facts don’t bear that out. People need sleep. People need 7-9 hours of sleep. People need 7-9 hours of quality, restful sleep. If they don’t get it, bad stuff happens.
Here are the medical facts as to what happens when people get less sleep than they need each night:
- Lack of sleep leads to accidents. It’s estimated that 5,000-6,000 fatal automobile accidents per year can be attributed to people driving while drowsy. It wouldn’t do anyone any good to crash on the way to playing disc golf.
- Lack of sleep makes you dumb and unable to think clearly, retain memories, and process information. Scoring well at disc golf requires you to be able to think clearly and quickly.
- Sleep deprivation contributes to your risk of heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Hard to putt well if you’re having a grabber at the same time.
- Not getting enough sleep kills your sex drive. Not disc golf related, but still kind of important, right?
- Lack of sleep causes and can be confused with deep depression. I get enough of that from playing poorly, I don’t need to compound the issue or make it worse!
- Getting inadequate sleep causes weight gain. Making it that much harder to get around the course and have a good energy level through your entire day of play.
- Lack of sleep impedes your judgement. Especially about the effects of your lack of sleep.
That last one really gets me. The analogy that I’ve heard used is that of drunk driving. After 1-2 drinks, most responsible people know they shouldn’t be driving. After 3-4 they suddenly think they might be OK to drive. 5-6 or more later and they are insisting that they drive better this way.
The same thing happens with sleep deprivation. The first night or two and you really feel it. After that, you start to tell yourself this terrible little lie. You start to convince yourself that you have adapted to it. That you are OK on less sleep. It’s not until you become well rested again that you realize just how wrong you were. Meanwhile you are playing worse and worse and just can’t figure out why.
It’s for all these reasons and many more that I made a commitment to myself a while back that I would always get at least 8 hours of sleep. It’s a core value and something that I rarely deviate from . It’s also one of the best things I’ve ever done for my own health and well being. It’s occasions like this terrible cold/flu I have that remind me of just how impactful getting good sleep has been.
So what the hell does all this have to do with getting ready for the GBO you might ask? Everything. I only mentioned it in passing in that previous post, but that’s because it’s something I take for granted. It took this cold/flu to remind me that good sleep hygiene is foundational to everything else I talk about. That meant it needed it’s own post.
Nothing else I discuss here on this blog, no performance goals, no practice regimens, no disc golf home gym workouts, none of it, can mean anything or be effective without good quality sleep. It’s so important that they even give professional and Olympic athletes curfews. That’s right, coaches actually tell grown successful adults when they need to be in bed. The top athletes in an sport all do that on their own. It’s foundational to their success.
To sum all this up, what I’m saying is simple. If you were to only be able to do one thing to prepare for your next game of disc golf (whether that’s a just for fun round or a big tournament or anything in between), the easy choice would be to get a good night’s sleep. That would have a greater impact than anything else by a long shot. Not to mention that if you made that a habit, you just might live longer too! When I roll into Emporia, you can rest assured (see what I did there?!) that I will be ready to play and working on 8 plus hours of sleep.
If you haven’t been able to sleep well in the past, and this blog post hasn’t put your lights out, here are a couple of really great resources for you:
How to Hack Your Sleep. A really great blog article by Dave Asprey over at the Bullet Proof Executive
Sleep Smarter: 21 Proven Tips to Sleep Your Way To a Better Body, Better Health and Bigger Success. Probably the best book on how to get better sleep and why I’ve read.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”