This Sleep Thing Is Confusing

First things first, progress is still rolling along quite well and I have no real complaints.  Ok, I have some complaints but they are minor and will seem whiney but here goes:

 

I am dealing with minor aches and pains here and there.  I expect this because I am getting into uncharted waters when it comes to my poundages.  Still, it is annoying because these little pings are making me have to be very smart in knowing when to pull back and when to push through.

 

My right wrist will bother me seemingly out of nowhere for no apparent reason.  The other day I had to use wrist WRAPS for support because my right wrist was so irritated that I couldn't do any curls (not even warm up) without using them.  As soon as I added the wraps, I was fine.  Who wraps their wrists to do curls?  I guess I do.

 

Left glute/hammy thingy.  Something is irritated in this general area and it doesn't feel like a glute or hammy, but it is where they tie in together.  I can't tell if it is from rotation or extension of the hip or what it is because it is very subtle and is not constant.  However, combined with my tighter hips (gluteal minimus) from adding a preworkout and alternating left to right for administration, they are getting tight and slightly irritated.  This is a concern that I knew of when I started this protocol a little over a week ago because a tight gluteal minimus has been an issue in the past when I had chronic lower back injuries.  Obviously, I am being very careful and cautious as I proceed.  

My lower back feels great as far as not having any nerve pain.  However, the added weight (I am now roughly 228.5 by the end of the week) that I am carrying over the last 2 weeks is causing my lower back to pump up very quickly and it gets very tight causing a lot of pressure in that area.  I have to be very careful when I start legs or back so that I don't allow my lower back to get too pumped.  If it does get too pumped, I purposely have to wait longer than usual to let it dissipate a bit before going to the next set.

 

Right elbow is still irritated but it isn't consistent.  Much like my right wrist, it will come and go with little to no rhyme or reason.  Now, the good thing is if I start a workout and get warmed up and I don't feel it is irritated, it will not get irritated at some point during that workout.  I either feel it while warming up or not at all.  I know it's tender because I was washing my car yesterday and had to be careful because I could feel it.

 

The above pings aren't major obstacles, but they are enough that I have to carefully evaluate whether going heavy on certain movements is a good idea or if that day might call for skipping a specific movement and maybe even opting for intense supersets vs. heavy weights.  Either way, I am getting excellent workouts and being forced to vary my workouts as far as intensity, exercises, tempo, etc, and that is a bonus.

 

The sleep thing has been difficult to figure out.  Anyone who knows me or has worked with me, knows that I believe there are patterns to EVERYTHING and that it is important to find them.  Sometimes, finding patterns only takes a few weeks, but other times it can go months and you will SWEAR there is no pattern and then all of a sudden, you start to see it develop.  My sleep is a good example of this.

 

I have been using a Fitbit, primarily to track and monitor sleep, for the last 4 months.  To really track and monitor sleep over time takes months because sleep changes almost daily for what appears to be no good reason.  I was looking for patterns with my sleep early in the week after Skiploading, later in the week after water weight has been dropped, the night after a Skipload, the night after training legs, etc. I was coming up with absolutely nothing and then it appears that there might be a pattern developing where every 3rd day (roughly) my deep sleep and REM sleep increases significantly.  It is still early in that the pattern isn't obvious yet, but I plan to continue to monitor it and should know better in another month if this is what is going on.

 

What I do know for sure is that my preworkout for the last 10 days (and for the next 20 days) is impacting my sleep quite a bit.  My REM and deep sleep is down 20-25% in just the last 10 days.

 

The other issue is that the supplement that I have been using since I started back at the gym again on October 1st, that increases my IGF levels, is impacting my sleep substantially, as well.  What is happening is my arms from my fingertips to my shoulder (into my shoulder) are becoming painfully numb many different times per night to the point that it is waking me up and keeping me up while I have to move whichever arm is numb until the numbness goes away and this can take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes.  I would GUESS this is happening roughly 6-10 times per night and usually only during REM sleep which is during the last 1/2-1/3 of my sleep cycle.  I usually get almost 100% of my deep sleep in the first 1/2 of my sleep cycle, for the record.

 

Now, you might be wondering why I wouldn't just drop the preworkout and drop the supplement that is causing the numbness and then end up with better sleep, right?

 

Because I am growing like I have not ever grown before and I imagine that if I pull these supplements out and get better sleep, the progress will likely not be as good - in fact, probably not even close.  I am speculating, of course, but I feel confident that I am correct.  So, right now my priority is simply to get another hour of sleep to offset the quality of sleep that has dropped.

 

If you are not monitoring your sleep, I implore you to consider starting to monitor it.  I am providing examples below of how different sleep patterns can be from one night to the next.  Obviously, without monitoring my sleep this way, I would just assume that if I got 2 hours less sleep one night, that my quality of sleep would be considerably less and that is not always the case as the example below will show.

 

Check out the 2 screenshots below that show almost 8 hours of sleep and notice the REM and deep sleep totals.

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Now, check out these 2 screenshots of almost 2 hours less sleep and compare the REM and deep sleep totals.

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I ended up with over 2 hours less sleep but more deep sleep and only 25 minutes less REM sleep.  The light sleep certainly counts as sleep, but pales in comparison to the importance of REM and deep sleep.

And if you think that quality of sleep isn't very important when it comes to gains, I can tell you matter-of-factly that in January I was consistently getting better sleep by well over an hour every night vs. the last 2 weeks.  My performance in the gym right now, though still good, is not what it was last month.  For this reason I have made it a point to push my sleep back up roughly one extra hour every night and I have no doubt that the impact will be obvious in as little as another week.

 

 

 

 

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