T Nation

Suboptimal Sleep


ok, I try and get about 8 hours each night and have been as consistant as I can.

last night I had to stay up late, until 3am, and trained the same day. I am currently doindg a mon,tue,thur,fri split.

my inqurie is, should I skip my fri because i was only able to get about 6 hours max of sleep in? or just train as planned and crash early?

Any advice will be greatly apprieciated!


I know when I have crappy sleep nights that my recovery suffers and my following workout will suffer.

Personally, I'd rather just drop volume or something, than give up on a gym visit altogether.

If you get a chance, do try to catch up on your sleep if possible. Some article somewhere suggested you could actually catch up on some amount of sleep debt.

It goes without saying that I'm not an expert, right?


Just change your mind set the day after some shitty sleep. Make it a challenge. Ask your self how tough are you? How bad do you want it?
If it's not happening all the time then don't worry about it. Just suck it up and train through it. Try having 4 month old triplets. You'll get very little sleep:-) Rarely if every will there be a perfect senario for training so you have to adapt.
Another trick is to keep some ephedrine HCL and some caffine tabs on hand for those hazy training days.


I'll wager the majority of people on this site have to deal with 'suboptimal' conditions in some respect. 6 instead of 8 hours of sleep one single night doesn't seem to be a significant reason to skip training. Personally, I'd just try to get the full 8 hours (or maybe 9) on a regular basis and not obsess over one or two hours less once in a while. You probably won't even feel a difference.


here is my view on sleep. I used to be a PSYCHO about sleep. I mean if i didn't get my eight hours in than i was ready to hurt somebody. and it was right in the middle of my college fb career so i missed a lot of fun stuff such as parties and things because i was so damn psychotic about sleep.

then about 1-1/2 to 2 years ago i develop some sleeping problems. my mom has always had sleeping problems since i can remember and i must have inherited some. nothing major just serious problems falling to sleep. once i finally got to sleep i was fine. i went from getting between 8-9 hours of sleep a night to getting 6 or less.

i tried everything i could think of (sleeping pills, melatonin, yoga before bed) short of doctor prescribed stuff (no insurance). i was in major stress mode for about two months. worrying about it all the time and shit. then i noticed that it didn't really have any effect at all on my workouts or my recovery. it didn't really have any effect on anything besides being a little more groggy n the morning.

i've started to get a little better and have been sleeping more but still not as much as i used to. one night of less sleep is not going to hurt you, one week isn't, even one year might not. like the guy said above it's all about attitude. the human body and mind are incredible machines and the mind is always stronger.

i wouldn't change a thing. i would hit the gym, NOT reduce the volume, not do a damn thing differently but make yourself go harder. don't treat your body like a baby and it won't act like one.


haha i know exactly what you mean. i am pretty anal about sleep as well, as far as having it pitch black, completely silent etc.. i guess i should change my attitude, cuz yeah i stress about it!

i went ahead and trained anyway, just drank some coffee, then went at it!

yeah i guess "suboptimal"sleep is something everyone has to deal with in life. thanks for the advice guys!


Get Spiked.


Vroom, you can actually make up sleep?

I heard sleep is the only debt you cant repay. is this true?


You're right. Once you miss an hours sleep, you will never, ever make it up. You will be tired for the rest of your life and wish you were dead.

If I miss 2hours sleep, but get an extra 2 hours the next night, I usually do alright. I reckon that is the sleep debt repaid.

There is probably a very scientific way to put that, but big words skeeeeeerrr me.


Have you tried it? This has got to be one of the best supplements known to mankind. At T-Nation's price, it is a hell of a deal.


ZMA? have not tried it but been reading about it on other threads. seems awesome. Am on it!


A great supplement for improving the quality of sleep. But won't impact having to cut short hours sleeping cause life gets in the way. But, no, you shouldn't skip workouts when this happess,


I have been taking melatonin whenever i cant fall asleep too easily though.. seems to work ok. I will give ZMA a try though.


Melatonin/ZMA to sleep, Spike when you wake. All you need.



I don't know where it was stated, but it looks like some sleep debt can be recovered, but usually we just keep on getting too little sleep. I don't know what the limit is.

Also, to clarify my position, if you have one night of bad sleep, who cares. If you continually miss a lot of sleep, then you may need to make adjustments, if for no other reason than your recovery may not be where it should.

Your recovery will also depend somewhat on your age and hormone levels as well as eating habits. As a copout answer, just make sure you aren't overtraining, which of course embeds all these issues anyway...


I had severe sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome. That being said, my sleep specialist said one night is not enough to produce such a problem that you will have a sleep debt to pay back. Sleep debt manifest's itself with whats called rem rebound. Rem rebound causes excesive amounts of rem and is known to cause very vivid and realistic dreams. After surgery for the sleep apnea it took months for the crazy dreams to go away. As stated above, drink some coffee and get after it.

I do think the topic of sleep warrants more discussion or even an article or something, it's way more important than most would think, I dropped about 20 pounds just after getting the sleep apnea resolved.

Chris? TC? how about some articles on sleep????



Anyone who is anal about sleep and sleeping conditions should join the military. This will cure you of your sleep problems once you return to civilian life. You learn that you can sleep under any conditions if you are tired enough. I once read somewhere that no one ever died from lack of sleep, so why worry about it?

I have been known to postpone a workout if I get less than 4 or 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep in a night, however.



I feel you man. I'm a junior in high school and between work, school work, and lifting I get like 5 hours a night when lucky. It definately affects my training adversly...but sometimes you just have to suck it up.

...and drink coffee, lots of coffee.


at your age you should NOT be cutting back on sleep so drastically, and especially loading up on coffee at the same time.


Thanks Vroom!

yeah i am covering all other aspects of recovery.. aint no biggie i guess if i miss out on one night of good sleep.

it does seem like one can make up for it.