I don’t know how Michael Phelps is feeling, but I’m exhausted.
The live drama at the pool and in the gym during these Summer Olympic Games has kept me up later than my days as a college student (or at least since those foggy nights breastfeeding my daughter).
Olympic viewers on the East Coast have taken the brunt of it. I live in the Midwest and stayed up well past midnight watching Phelps swim to victory (some of his races didn’t get underway until after 10 p.m. Central, 11 p.m. Eastern). Then, there were the nights I forced myself to stay awake to watch the gymnastics competition. It was well worth the effort, but as a mom, who on most nights falls asleep reading bedtime stories to her preschooler, staying up past 8 p.m. is an Olympic feat unto itself.
And I know I am not alone. NBC hasn’t been shy about touting its monstrous ratings. According to the peacock network, record numbers of us up have staying up until the wee hours of the night watching Olympic history being made… live.
If you’ve spent the last week pulling Olympic all-nighters then your daily workouts might be suffering because of it. After all, who wants to run, walk or bike when they are dog tired?
But lack of energy is not the only thing being compromised when you pull an all-nighter. According to Washington, D.C.-based National Sleep Foundation, if you lose an hour or two of sleep each night for the duration of the Olympics, you stand to lose much more than just motivation to work out.
Sleep experts say that for every 1.7 hours of sleep you lose a night, your overall productivity and alertness decreases substantially the following day. One night staying up past your bedtime is not bad, but experts warn that after two or three nights you are putting your health at risk.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, Americans sleep an average of 6.9 hours per night, so if you subtract 1.5 hours of Olympic viewing you are only getting about 5.4 hours of sleep per night and experts say very few of us can function on that amount of shut eye.
Parents with young children may argue that point, but there’s no debating the fact that none of us would want to be sharing the highway with a sleep deprived driver, who can’t keep his eyes open because he stayed up watching Phelps add to his medal count the night before.
Have you been pulling Olympic all-nighters?
Swimming is over, but track and field is just getting underway… are you primed for more sleepless nights?