One thing that picked-on kids and adults have in common is their inability to relax and sleep. Unless the sleep is used as a type of escapism, deep rest is often difficult for the bullied.
I know as a kid, I had constant nightmares from listening to my mother and step-dad argue. I got to the point of being afraid to sleep. Later, I liked the fatigue as it shut out the pain and monotony of high school. It got worse when I worked late or early in the mornings. My school grades suffered and so did my health.
(Of course, when you are hyper-vigilant of drunken step-dads and high school bullies, you have difficulty relaxing.)
Despite how much I ate, I could not seem to gain much muscle. It was not until years later, when I became more independent and confident that I was able to rest and sleep deeper and gain more muscle weight. I could concentrate better as well. So, later I attended university and would actually remember what I was supposed to.
Rest is often ignored by those in a hurry to lose weight, gain muscle, get through school or learn to defend themselves. That is often because the adrenaline glands are stuck on high. Trust me on this one.
To support this theory, I read about a study in Montreal, Canada, in 1958, where school children were on meal programs and generally ate about the same amount of food. Fairly consistently, the children from high-stress families almost always were under-weight and tired.
Well, this was a relief as I realized that I was not a total moron. My mind could not process information while stuck in the survival mode most of the time.
So, what does this means to you, my friends, who might be struggling with under or over-weight (too much cortisol from stress)?
It means that to make greater muscle gains, fat burning and improved concentration, you must include rest and sleep in your routine. If you have topped up your school course load and are holding down two jobs, then it is time for a serious rescheduling as the lack of sleep can ruin your school marks, ability to earn a living and your relationships.
I used to work 12 to 18 hour days all summer and then return home to school and/or work and be tired and restless for about three weeks while my mind and body tried to recover from the hectic pace of training with the army reserves. Sleep is nature's loan shark. It will collect that recovery period eventually.
Train hard. But, give yourself that well-deserved rest and sleep. Your mind and body will thank you for it.