As I’ve discussed in the past, there is a delicate hierarchy of interacting factors which all need to be in place in order to achieve the positive feedback loops in our development that allow us to consistently keep pushing back the boundaries of our confidence, social skills and physique – A Model For Success.
Each level in the hierarchy is based upon a number of foundational factors at the previous level, all of which have to be in place to keep the loop running. Take any one away, and the whole thing grinds to a halt, and you can even start going backwards.
That’s pretty much what happened to me over the last 7 days. Everything had been going brilliantly, I was reaping the benefits of my TRT, hitting new PBs in the gym, and striding around with such commanding presence that almost every single person I walked past in the street was just staring at me, as if to say “Who is this guy?”. And then, incrementally, my sleep started going to pieces.
We’re in the middle of a heatwave in the UK at the moment, and the country simply isn’t geared up to deal with it. I’m naturally very prone to overheating at night at the best of times, and each successive night, I was sleeping less and less. Sleeping with a fan and the window open provided temporary relief, but it let in the noise of planes going overhead every 5 minutes (I live under a flight path for Heathrow) and bird song starting up at 4am, which I just can’t tolerate as a very light sleeper. Your body requires at least one 3-4 hour bout of solid deep sleep each night to fully recover, and I simply wasn’t getting it. Drifting in and out of light sleep, drenched in sweat, haunted by feverish dreams, I just became more and more fatigued each day.
By yesterday, I was at my wits’ end. I had a deep-seated ache of weariness in my face, and could hardly put one foot in front of the other. It was impossible to concentrate on anything at work, and I felt deeply anxious with a racing heart – through exhaustion, my body’s ability to regulate itself was beginning to suffer. I didn’t train, and I started purposefully withdrawing from social interactions, knowing that I lacked the clarity of mind to be able to speak coherently, and felt as though I’d regressed about two months in my development. The most foundational piece of my hierarchy of factors had fallen away, and the whole edifice of my ego was crumbling.
Unwilling to allow it to continue, I finally took the action I should have taken days ago. I hired an AC unit for my room, cut out all caffeine (which is a lot for me!) and got prescription sleeping tablets from the doctor. After my first solid night’s sleep last night in what feels like months, I’m slowly coming back to myself again. All the momentum I’d gained has currently lost, and I’ve got to build back up from scratch again.
Lesson learned – I shan’t again allow myself to get into this situation, and neglect the most fundamental piece of the puzzle – health. Make sure you are doing all you can to maintain the delicate balance of factors required to sustain optimal performance, or risk setting yourself back weeks in what should be your continual journey of self-improvement.