Friday, November 22, 2013

Sleep Before Boxing

I didn't know that actor Robert Karvelas was a Golden Gloves champion.  He won while serving in the Marines during World War II.  Don't know who he is?  Karvelas played Larambee, a CONTROL agent on the 1960's TV spy spoof series "Get Smart".  The star of that show, comedian Don Adams, was his cousin in real life.

I've been up since about 5:15 AM.  I didn't get to sleep until around 1:30 AM.  My sleep patterns have been off for a few weeks.  I was grumbling because when Antennae TV revealed their new fall schedule, "The Jack Benny Program" had been moved to 3:00 AM (CST).  "I guess I won't be seeing that for awhile," I thought to myself.  Today was the first time I was asleep before old Jack came on.  After a few times I found myself watching reruns of "Bachelor Father", a sitcom starring a pre-"Dynasty" John Forsythe, which follows back-to-back episodes of Benny's show at 4:00 AM, I figured maybe I should force myself to go to bed earlier.

In a sport like boxing where a person's focus has to be laser sharp as possible, getting enough sleep is very important.  Being drowsy in the ring is not cool.  But it is so hard to get the required eight hours that doctors say everyone should have.  Personally, I've been operating on four to six hours of slumber for years.  My excuse is that I've always been a night owl.  But lack of proper rest over a long period of time does take a toll.

Getting into a mindset of "it's time to go to bed" helps.  At least 30 minutes ahead of time, start winding down.  Have some tea or hot chocolate (not coffee, for obvious reasons).  Eat something, if a snack is necessary, but not a heavy meal.  Doesn't pay to lay down after a heavy meal; it tends to overwork the digestive system.  Heavy meals before sleep time can also lead to some disturbing dreams, which may lead to waking up in the middle of the night, putting us right back at square one in trying to get to sleep.  Do some quiet activity, like reading a book or even meditation.  But don't read the newspaper, because it's better to process bad news throughout the day than to have it on the mind at night.

I have a bad habit of leaving the TV on.  Sometimes I remember to set the timer so it turns itself off, but sometimes I fall asleep only to wake up and find that the "TV was watching me" as people used to say when I was a kid.  The room should be dark and quiet.  Flickering lights from the TV or computer makes it hard to fall asleep easily and interferes with having deep sleep.  Having the radio on has the same effect at bedtime. However, one of those devices -- that can be set by timer to turn off after 30 minutes or so -- that plays nature sounds can be helpful.  Turning a fan on may work as well, because of the "white noise" effect.

The temperature in the bedroom is a matter of personal preference.  Some like the room to be very warm and cozy.  Others prefer cooler air.  Of course, there's also the matter of considering the other person in bed, if there is one, so compromises may have to be made.

Getting proper rest leads to better alertness which leads to heightened focus in the ring.

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