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Thread: How to modify program to fix insomnia

  1. #1
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    Default How to modify program to fix insomnia

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    Hello all:
    I need help figuring out how to modify my training. I'm dealing with some pretty gnarly insomnia, and it's become basically a nightly thing. I wake up typically around 3, and can't get back to sleep for over an hour. I am fairly convinced that it relates to the intensity of my training/the stress of how much extra I'm eating, specifically the added carbs. The reason I assume this is because the last time I felt this shitty was the was the last time I was running the program and eating this way.
    My sleep hygiene is excellent, I've tried all the supplements you can imagine, and I'm even talking to a doc about a prescription drug.

    I have nearly daily headaches now, joint aches and pains all over especially in my low back, brain fog, and not much of an appetite despite smashing what feels like an insane amount of food on a daily basis to try and gain weight.

    I'm a little over a month into my re-starting my NLP. I ran it for about 3-4 months less than a year ago, and took a few months off due to the problems that I'm currently experiencing. Within a few weeks of starting the program again, my disturbed sleep and chronic pains returned like clockwork.

    I need some help on scaling things back to find a dose of exercise I can recover from. I've already added a light squat day on wednesday and switched to 1x week heavy deadlift, and that still isn't fixing it. I'm fairly sure the squat is what wrecks me the most, as my low back hurts after the bounce out of the bottom, and I feel the most run down after doing it, the way I don't after other lifts. And no, the solution isn't "just eat more." I'm already eating more than I can comfortably hold and dealing with bloat and discomfort as a result.

    I'm 36 years old, 5'11 and 180lbs (i started at 165). My lifts aren't great but here they are:
    Squat 225, Deadlift 295, Press 105, Bench 180

    Thanks everybody - sorry for the lengthy post

  2. #2
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    What are your questions? Bullet points please.

  3. #3
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    Insomnia generally has more to do with neurological and/or psychological factors.

    I've been there too... I've tried to do "crazy things" in some training sessions to then sleep more, but there I've been: Dying in pain lying in bed looking at the ceiling because my confused nervous system didn't think it was time to sleep

    I bet you have strong relapses during the day and you feel like going to sleep for 12 hours at noon, or at 3 in the afternoon, right?

    Believe me; I've been there and increasing the intensity of your training will only make you crash.

    Try doing something that relaxes you deeply. Yoga, meditation, etc.

    One thing that helped me was putting more distance between workouts; leave 2 or 3 and even 4 days. I slept better since my nervous system was not "excited." You progress slower, obviously, but at least you'll get some sleep.

  4. #4
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    My question is what can I do to reduce the intensity of the program to something I can recover from? I donít want to go down to 2 days per week if I can avoid it, but Iím curious if I should try something else out such as back off sets, fewer overall work sets, etc. I donít know what the best option is here

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Santana View Post
    What are your questions? Bullet points please.
    (Sorry if this is being posted twice, my first response didn't show up for whatever reason)

    My question is how can I scale back the volume/intensity of the program to something that's less stressful so I can actually recover? My body is screaming at me to do less. I'm already eating as much as I can, meditating, and trying to sleep as well as I can, so the only thing left to modify is my training. My overall stress load needs to go down for now.

    Should I do less work sets? Do backoff sets? I'm open to anything but running the program the way I have been is not working right now.

    Thank you!

  6. #6
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    Are you tracking & weighing your food or guessing?

    You say you have excellent sleep hygiene, but are you having booze or a big meal close to bedtime?
    Booze and or a big meal will wake me in the middle of the night. So will stress or pain.

    Are you taking anything for your aches and pains?

    If you are regularly up about an hour each night, you can try adding hours. If you need 8 hours of sleep, make sure you have 9 to give.

    What time of day are you training?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenpMelton View Post
    (Sorry if this is being posted twice, my first response didn't show up for whatever reason)

    My question is how can I scale back the volume/intensity of the program to something that's less stressful so I can actually recover? My body is screaming at me to do less. I'm already eating as much as I can, meditating, and trying to sleep as well as I can, so the only thing left to modify is my training. My overall stress load needs to go down for now.

    Should I do less work sets? Do backoff sets? I'm open to anything but running the program the way I have been is not working right now.

    Thank you!
    Spread the intensity out over a longer timeline. You basically treat yourself the way you would an advanced lifter or old man. The problem is similar in that recovery is the limiting factor. So try to set a new PR over a longer timeline and see if that works. You do need to address the insomnia though because it's very likely that it will catch up with you and you won't be able to progress in a meaningful way.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Santana View Post
    Spread the intensity out over a longer timeline. You basically treat yourself the way you would an advanced lifter or old man. The problem is similar in that recovery is the limiting factor. So try to set a new PR over a longer timeline and see if that works. You do need to address the insomnia though because it's very likely that it will catch up with you and you won't be able to progress in a meaningful way.
    Okay that is helpful, thank you. So just to clarify what you mean, would that look like for example, increasing the weight on each of the lifts just once per week, and staying at that same weight for the workouts in between, keeping everything else the same?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernLifter View Post
    Insomnia generally has more to do with neurological and/or psychological factors.

    Try doing something that relaxes you deeply. Yoga, meditation, etc.

    One thing that helped me was putting more distance between workouts; leave 2 or 3 and even 4 days. I slept better since my nervous system was not "excited." You progress slower, obviously, but at least you'll get some sleep.
    So I do Tai chi kinds of exercises daily to calm the nervous system, as well as a 15 minute guided meditation every night before bed. Doesnít fix the problem but it does help.
    As far as spreading out the workouts, that means you canít fit in 3 per week at that rate, correct?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HailMary View Post
    Are you tracking & weighing your food or guessing?

    You say you have excellent sleep hygiene, but are you having booze or a big meal close to bedtime?
    Booze and or a big meal will wake me in the middle of the night. So will stress or pain.

    Are you taking anything for your aches and pains?

    If you are regularly up about an hour each night, you can try adding hours. If you need 8 hours of sleep, make sure you have 9 to give.

    What time of day are you training?
    Iím loosely tracking, meaning every once in a while Iíll plug everything in just to make sure I know where Iím at. If I work hard, I can hit 3k calories with minimal ďjunkĒ food in there.
    Hardly any booze, and I finish dinner about 2-3 hours before bed.

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