Sleep experts advise those training at high intensities to sleep at least 10 hours a night in order for the body to properly recover. The average adult is recommended between seven and nine hours shut eye, however many are barely achieving six. For athletes, sleep is an incredibly important part of recovery, the body needs time to repair the muscle tissue used during exercise. When the required rest periods are not obtained there is an increase to the risk of injury and muscle fatigue, and even over-training.
Five tips to sleep better
1. Remove all light and noise from your bedroom
2. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
3. Increase your light exposure during the day
4. Keep your bedroom cool
5. Limit how much you drink in the evening. See How Alcohol affects your training.
Aside from the fact that if you don’t get adequate sleep you feel lethargic, several things happen in your body, hindering you from performing anywhere near your peak.
Human Growth Hormone depletes – losing muscle gain
Bonus facts: The decline of HGH is associated with adverse effects such as grey hair, wrinkles, weight gain, loss of muscle mass, lowered sex drive, insomnia, lessened focus and memory, brittle bones, and higher susceptibility to heart and liver disease, arthritis, and diabetes.Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is an important protein which maintains bodily tissue as well as facilitating muscle growth and repair. The amount of HGH released is dictated by sleep and exercise, and more importantly the quality of each. Large amounts of HGH are usually released during the REM (rapid eye movement an important stage of the sleep cycle) state of sleep, however receiving inadequate sleep whether it be not long enough or poor quality will considerably reduce the supply of HGH been secreted. This ultimately means all that work you put in during the day is almost wasted without HGH.
Cortisol levels rise – keeping you awake
Cortisol is a hormone responsible for our alertness and how we respond to stress. Levels keep in line with our circadian rhythm and are at their highest at around 8am and lowest between midnight and 4am,
“Sleep is extremely important to me – I need to rest and recover in order for the training I do to be absorbed by my body” - Usain Bolt.
keeping us awake during the day, and restful at night. Cortisol is grossly affected by Sleep Deprivation (characterised between four and six hours sleep), spiking Cortisol levels later in the day and taking up to six times longer to deplete in the evening, ultimately keeping you awake at night.
Glycogen isn’t stored effectively – forfeiting your energy supply
Lack of sleep reduces glycogen metabolism (the conversion of glucose to glycogen for energy) levels by about 30 to 40%, meaning athletes will have lower levels to call on during exercise.
In order to achieve your fitness goals or take your training program to the next level, be aware of the advantages quality sleep can have on your performance. Check out the latest sleep tracking gadgets to help you sleep your way to peak performance.