The restorative power of a good night of sleep

My body has been “breaking down” more in the past three weeks than I think it has the entire five years to date of The Dan Plan.  I wasn’t sure what was going on, some of the things were random happenings:  Jammed my thumb moving furniture and sprained my left index finger getting it pushed behind my hand while catching a ball.  And some were unexpected and seemingly from the blue:  Pinched something in my lower back that made it hard to stand up totally straight, let alone post up on my right side in a golf swing and my right knee is not seeming to want to climb up steps with it’s normal spring.

I thought a lot about what might be happening over the weekend as my back made it less than possible to actually go out and swing a club and with the index finger not wanting to bend properly I wasn’t able to grip a putter; so took a couple of days off.  While thinking I realized a lot of it was because of the lack of quality sleep over the past few weeks.

I recently moved back into my house in NE Portland after living elsewhere for the past 3 years and when I moved back in I was basically starting over furniture-wise.  I have a chair, desk, few odds and ends and some kitchen supplies, but what I did not own was a proper bed.  When I moved out in 2012 I sold mine and everywhere I have stayed since was furnished so there was never a need to purchase a bed.  I didn’t immediately know which type of what brand I wanted to get so decided to pick up a “decent” futon for the time being until I could find the right bed.  Finally, I found one last week and have ordered it and a good quality sleep should be arriving soon, but I think having tossed and turned on a rock hard futon for the past 3 weeks has taken a little toll on my body.

I was researching the restorative power of sleep and it totally makes sense that my body is not acting in a normal way and fixing these little issues as they arise.  Here is a little breakdown of what I found:

Stage 1

* Between being awake and falling asleep

* Light sleep

Stage 2

* Onset of sleep

* Becoming disengaged from surroundings

* Breathing and heart rate are regular

* Body temperature drops (so sleeping in a cool room is helpful)

Stages 3 and 4

* Deepest and most restorative sleep

* Blood pressure drops

* Breathing becomes slower

* Muscles are relaxed

* Blood supply to muscles increases

* Tissue growth and repair occurs

* Energy is restored

I am not getting into the stage 3 and 4 of sleep as the 2 inch futon mattress makes it hard to lie in the same position for more than about 30 minutes.  I used to wake up very refreshed and ready to go and have never had more than minor injury incidents along this journey, but all of a sudden it feels like everything is slowly breaking down.  This is an awful feeling and I never realized just how important sleep is.  I may be lying prone for 7-8 hours, but I’m not getting into the stage where my muscles are relaxing and tissue repair happens.

So excited to get that new bed soon.  I can’t wait for a good night of sleep.

I’m playing in a two-day two-man best ball tournament this weekend, so I hope the bed arrives in the next day or two, but regardless I will take it light this week in preparation as right now I am not sure if my back would even hold up for 18 holes.  Last time I tried to play 18 was last Friday and after about 12 holes I couldn’t do anything except hit a weak fade.  Not going to work this weekend and I think a couple of light days will lead to a healthier body and that’s what I have to do right now to prepare.

It should be a fun little tournament.  It’s at a course called Rose City and I have played in it a couple of times before.  I don’t like two-man tourneys as much as individual, but it still puts pressure on the game and is always a good learning experience.  In some ways, there is actually more pressure from a team game as you don’t want to let your partner down and if they have a bad miss you know you have to carry the hole.

Over and out for now.  Will report on how much the bed helps as well as the weekend’s results soon.

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