How Adam Got His Groove Back

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Guest Blog by Adam Rotherham

I’ve been getting pretty poor sleep recently. Well, not recently – in fact, the last 9 months, 27 days, 16 hours, and 46 minutes to be precise. I’m not counting, per-say, it’s just that my sleep pattern changed drastically with the arrival of our baby girl, Hazy, in June 2014. Nearly 10 months later and I am still talking about how I am not getting enough sleep. I  found myself blaming poor baby Hazy. But, as my wife pointed out, the thing is, Hazel pretty much sleeps through the whole night now. Damn – so it’s not the baby’s fault.

So, why am I not getting enough sleep? I go to bed early enough and am prepared to sleep 8 glorious hours — they are just inconsistent and broken. The only real noticeable contributor was my neighbors bright spotlight on the side of their building, which pretty much shines directly into my bedroom window and lights up the room at night.

So, I came up with 3 options.

1- Supplement with Niacin and Melatonin (I’m not much of a fan of taking pills and I’ve heard mixed reviews about Niacin, that it can give some people hot flushes and nausea).

2- Install a blackout curtain (probably the most logical).

3- Smash the neighbors spotlight (this might work in Australia, but I’m not too sure about the USA).

I chose to go with number 2 and install a blackout curtain. I researched a few different options online and decided to make the trip to IKEA. I purchased a heavy duty blackout curtain and installed an extra lining on the back of it to make it even denser. There was pretty much no chance of any light getting through these puppies. I’m happy to say, I installed them on Saturday afternoon and have been having the best nights sleep ever since.

Why has this made such a difference to my sleep? Here’s what I found out.

About 70 million Americans suffer from sleeping problems, nearly 60 percent of that number have a chronic disorder. Every year $15.9 Billion is added to the National Health Care bill from sleep disorders and sleep deprivation. This figure does not include any related health problems, loss of worker productivity or accidents. If you are having problems sleeping, it’s more than likely not genetic or neurological. You may not be getting a good nights sleep because you are not allowing your circadian clock to be set by the day and night cycles.

What does this mean?

Most bedrooms these days are full of bright lights, from computer screens, tablets, smart phones and a host of other electronic devices. Chronic exposure to light at night can lead to a series of health problems including depression, cancer risk, and decreased hormone function. Light at night influences the production of cortisol and melatonin levels. Melatonin is produced by the brain’s Pineal Gland at night when it’s dark and regulates our sleep-wake cycle. It also lowers blood pressure, glucose levels and body temperature which all contribute to a restful nights sleep. Your brain won’t produce melatonin if it’s confused with being day or night.

There’s a part of your brain called the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN). The SCN responds to light and dark signals. The optic nerves in the eyes sense light and send a message to the SCN, telling the brain it’s time to wake up. It also raises body temperature and elevates cortisol levels. Cortisol levels are generally low at night which allows us to sleep. Light at night however, elevates cortisol levels and disrupts our sleep.

Why is sleep so important?

Sleep is the most important part of recovery with respect to illness/sickness, depression, stress and training. Without quality sleep athletes cannot recover properly or reach their full potential. In today’s fast paced world with family and work commitments, sleep isn’t always our number 1 priority. If you are not getting 8 hours of sleep you are not completing all four cycles of sleep and optimizing your recovery. The deeper the sleep you are in when the alarm clock goes off, the more tired you are going to be throughout the day. When you continuously wake up in the deepest periods of sleep, you are telling your body that you no longer need deep periods of sleep. This is where sleep disorders start to occur.

Here’s what you need to do.

Keep your bedroom pitch black. Take all light emitting devices out of the bedroom – even the dim-light of alarm clocks have been shown to have a negative effect on sleep. If your room is dark at night, there’s no signal to the SCN, so your body releases the much needed melatonin. Also, your melatonin levels are regulated according to the amount of exposure you had to light during the previous day. If you work inside all day without sunlight, be sure to get outside and expose yourself to sunlight at least once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

Of course this is not a fix-all solution. And I am a weightlifter, not a doctor. But it’s a good place to start.

If you want to read into this more, check out these websites:


Wednesday’s Workout
Recovery Practice

A) Toes to bar skill practice

B) EMOM 30 at ≤70 RPE
1st Min: 10-15 Arch rocks
2nd Min: 5-10 Thrusters (40%)
3rd Min: 10-15 Hollow rocks
4th Min: 5-10 Kipping CTB pullups
5th Min: 10-15 Situps
6th Min: 5-10 Burpees
**30sec Cap each minute**

And Coming Thursday
Mental Toughness

800m Run
30 RKBS (32/24)
20 Overhead squats (95/65)
**30min Cap**



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