Here’s why you don’t get enough exercise and sleep

We conducted a survey with our members and subscribers regarding exercise and sleep. Their responses confirmed the true obstacle to sufficient exercise and sleep… and it’s not what you think.


Survey Results: When I don’t get enough exercise or sleep, I experience...

Worry, irritability, lack of focus, self-doubt, indecision, muscle tension, discomfort, and an inability to hold strategy were all answers reported as common effects of exercise and sleep deficiencies.

Since getting enough sleep and exercise isn’t happening for most of us, and all of the effects described above are critical to our ability to perform both personally and professionally, I think it best we get this handled once and for all.


Check this out...

If you described the things above to a doctor, you’d easily be diagnosed with and treated for things like anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder or - gulp -  all three! But how effective would the ensuing treatments be if those things were merely the symptoms of an exercise and sleep deficiency?

Yeah, you’d be chasing after those maladies with medication for the rest of your life because you’d be trying to treat the symptoms rather than the root of the condition.

Now lets say you go to see your doctor and he realizes that you haven’t been exercising or sleeping. At best, he’d be able to enroll you into a sleep and exercise program, but most likely you’d come out of the appointment with a sleeping pill prescription and a recommendation to start exercising. Of course, the prescription will require additional visits for refills.

The spiral continues. If you think about it, most of us don’t get enough sleep because we’re not burning off enough energy during the day, and most of us don’t get enough exercise because we’re too freaking busy. Once again, we’re trying to deal with symptoms, which in this case, are caused by a lack of sleep and exercise. To really get to the source of the issue, we’ve got to go deeper.


A virus in the lab:

While reading the survey results (worry, irritability, lack of focus, etc.), I realized that these were all results of something I thought people had control over - sleep and exercise.

Initially, this was refreshing and inspiring...and then we began to discuss the reasons for the lack of exercise and sleep. It started off okay as they described things like not having enough time, being too busy, or not knowing what the best workout routine was.

The reasons were all legitimate. However, the moment I realized that they didn’t believe that they had control over these things, those reasons become excuses and the people became victims of circumstance. The “victim virus” had caught hold.

Okay, now follow me on this one. I’m not a doctor so I’m just going to speak from personal experience.

I feel anxious, depressed and struggle with focus when I don’t…

...get enough sleep.


I don’t fall asleep readily when I fail to use the God-given energy inside of me, so it’s important for me to get…

...plenty of exercise and mental stimulation in my day. (He clearly wants me to move!)


To exhaust my energy stores, both physical and mental...

... I need at least 90 minutes of exercise a day and about 4 hours of writing.


For me to create a situation where I have this amount of time to workout and write everyday, I need to…

... be very effective and efficient in optimizing my time because I have a lot of responsibilities to care for.


To be optimized in a way that I can care for myself and others I need to… aware of the status and priority of all of the things that affect my ability to live a good life and lead others to do the same.

So for me, and I believe for most of us, worry, irritability, anxiety, depression, lack of exercise, sleep, and time are all merely symptoms of an underlying disease. A disease that I will call Situational Awareness Deficiency (S.A.D.). There is no pill you can take for it, no quick fix. It can only be cured by being in a practice with it.


Situational Awareness Deficiency (S.A.D.)

Situational Awareness Deficiency (S.A.D.) – A state of being that doesn’t allow one to notice that they’re spending precious time and resources on that which does not matter whilst neglecting the things which actually determine their quality of life. You know… little things like sleeping and exercising.

This condition is what has you choose to spend time on the things you feel like doing, making you too “busy” or “tired” to do the things you need to be doing.

It’s so subtle and powerful that it has most people shackled to the belief that they don’t have the time or resources to care for the things that really matter.

When you’re infected, you’ll spend more time watching T.V. or surfing the Internet than you will spend exercising or sleeping.

If you’re infected, it will seem like other people have more time and energy than you do. When you’re infected, life feels like something you keep up with rather than something you lead.

To oversimplify, this is all about creating the space we need in order to care for the things that matter. It’s not about working harder, nor is it about working smarter. Each of us has but 24 hours in our day. There’s no way to add to that. If you need more time to get things like exercise and sleep handled, then the only thing left to do is get rid of the things that don’t matter. You know, like T.V. and, dare I say, social Internet sites?


We can’t make time but we sure can find it:

What To Do:

If you find that getting things like exercise and sleep handled on a regular basis isn’t happening, it’s time for you to start making space.

Begin by answering the following questions:

  • Name at least 3 things you spend time on that you could stop right now.

  • Name 3 things you spend time on that you could eventually stop

  • Name 1 thing you will stop doing right now and tell us why



Comments: My purpose is to deeply study and write about what impacts our ability to live a good life and lead others to do the same. I read every comment but respond by creating more papers based on what I learn from my readers. Please leave your thoughts below.

Eric Davis

Eric Davis served our country as a U.S. Navy SEAL and decorated veteran of the Global War on Terror. Eric has been recognized as one of the premier sniper instructors in the U.S. military and has served as a Master Training Specialist at the SEAL sniper school in Coronado, CA.

He is an expert of technical and physical surveillance and was part of an elite group hand-selected to perform intelligence collection in denied areas around the world.

Eric has spent years developing, writing and executing curriculum for the SEAL Teams. By leveraging his expertise in the development of systems, structures, processes and practices Eric was instrumental in significantly reducing the failure rate, of Naval Special Warfare’s internationally recognized Sniper course. 

Since departing from the SEAL teams, Eric has worked in corporate performance, sales and leadership training bringing an unprecedented amount of innovation, efficiency and structure to the domain of business and performance.