Jul2011 Volume 8‎ > ‎July Fuel‎ > ‎

July Recover

Getting across the gain line.

What seemed like an eternity ago, I followed the advice of someone I really trust and sought out Rugby; where else could I find a raucous bunch of hooligans who played hard and after beating each other up for a few hours, went out and into the wee hours of the night sang ridiculous songs together. We were blessed to have a coach who was not only tough on us at times, but acted as a role model for some (a physician) and a father figure for others; and in addition to pearls of wisdom (like “Mikey, pass the BLEEP-ing ball”)….coach always stressed the importance of putting the other team on the defensive by always getting across the “gain line”.  Similar to the line of scrimmage in Football, the gain line is the imaginary line that tells you if you’re making progress toward the end goal or if you’re losing ground.


It dawned on me recently that in many respects this is a similar message we give to our clients who are looking to make a health change……just move forward….even if only a baby step. As unfortunate as it seems, so many people today are just not getting there.  Is it for lack of trying?  Sometimes for sure; but if you’ve looked around lately you’ll know that perhaps it also has to do with trying too hard……working too hard, burning ourselves out and simply not bouncing back fast enough or full enough to be ready before the next wave hits.


The next time you flip on the TV for some veg-time you’ll likely be reminded that you’re over-tired, run-down, fatigued and battle-worn (or whatever other phrase you can think of).  Last night as I sat and watched something “positively entertaining”, I was inundated with reminders of how tired I (and the rest of society) must be.  Whether it was the group telling me that I might have “shift-work syndrome”, or the group selling a product that promised hours of energy pick-me-up in a bottle without all of the “hassles of coffee”, or a pill designed for those folks so over-tired that they can’t actually get to sleep or the mouth-insert that helps to create enough of an under-bite to open the throat and eliminate snoring I was inundated with the same message……. “you’re tired, and since you can’t actually sleep…..we can help you”…..yikes.


Of course most of us know that we can’t constantly run the system hard without recovery and expect to make forward progress everyday, but there’s just so much to get done….it’s a doom loop…..in the last month I’ve watched people nod off in meetings, on the subway, and behind the wheel; I’ve talked to countless people who have been diagnosed with sleep disorders of one kind or another and I’ve watched people seemingly age right before my eyes (including the guy in the mirror at times). 

To make matters worse, lack of sleep has not only been linked to things like gains in weight, waistline and body fat percentage (lack of sleep not only tells your body you’re hungry, it also turns off the signal for feeling “full”), it’s also related to things far worse, like motor vehicle accidents, inability to make accurate judgments in stressful situations and sudden cardiac death syndromes.


So here we are battling the heat and humidity of the summer, the stress of life in the current world and we’re trying to do it while we’re slipping further and further behind the “gain line”.  Somewhere in there we MUST decide to break the cycle or the cycle will break us.  So whether you’ll be taking a vacation in the next few weeks or like us you work only on days that end in “y”……challenge yourself to get an extra hour of sleep per night for a week and let us know if you notice a difference.

Now off to bed with you!