Categories
Psychology Recovery Rest

Benefits of Recovery

Welcome to Daylight Savings 2016, and the loss of another hour of sleep!

Woman (and author of post) laying in bed sleeping under white covers, with two Siamese cats seeping on a pillow and on her foot.
Zzzz! Learn about the benefits of rest, recovery, and naps! Photo courtesy of Imei Hsu. Use only with permission.

A few seasons ago, an experienced athlete shared with me a piece of sage wisdom:

“You can only race as well as you can recover.”

It’s the occasional freak of nature — and perhaps our belief that we may be that one percent or less of the overall population — that drives us to behave in ways that are contradictory to the well-understood and time-tested fact that athletes perform better when they get consistent rest and recovery times along with their training, nutrition, body work, and other medical care.

Many people were stunned when marathoner Ryan Hall announced his retirement at age 33. Hall, cited as one of the greatest American marathoners in history, had been struggling with fatigue and low testosterone. The rigors of training for one marathon and half marathon after another had taken its toll on his body and particularly his hormone balance.

As a therapist, I see very few clients who perform at these high rigor levels of demand in their work lives and private lives. What I do see are people who have extremely busy and productive schedules at work, at home, and even at play. To find time to “have it all and do it all”, many of them cite sleep as the activity they give up most often.

To get all the items checked off the list, the kids shuttled to soccer practice and ballet dance lessons, projects at work finished and home renovations projects completed, to care for an aging parent, and make sure the pet gets its surgery and regular teeth cleaning — well, sleep gets whittled down to the bare minimum to get by.

But at what cost?