Be a Better Athlete, Recover Faster, and Improve your Health with Sleep

25.04.2017 |

Episode #7 of the course The science of sleep: learn how to improve your sleep by Somni

 

In order to properly understand sleep, you need to understand the impact it has on your body and physical health and vice versa. When you snooze, just like in your brain, many processes occur within your body to help prepare you for the day ahead. Today, we’ll show you how sleep improves physical health and how to use sleep to get the most out of your athletic performance.

Sleep is one of the body’s greatest tools for recovery; sleep plays a critical role in the recovery process by enabling the body to repair broken tissue and muscles, correct hormonal imbalances, and replace dead cells.

Throughout a night of sleep, our bodies release a cascade of hormones to help with tissue recovery, energy metabolism, appetite control, and sugar processing. Many of these processes can only be done during sleep.

Similarly, fatigue and athletic performance are intimately linked. It has been shown that multiple weeks of reducing the amount of time an athlete sleeps decreases their reaction times and athletic performance and increases daily fatigue. Habitual short sleep duration is associated with adverse metabolic, cardiovascular, and inflammatory effects in the body, all of which make the ability to recover from training more difficult.

Top athletes have all agreed that sleep is one of the best performance enhancers for their craft. Let’s take a look at some examples:

● Tom Brady, five-time NFL Super Bowl champion, goes to bed each night at 8:30 to enhance his next-day performance.

● LeBron James, four-time NBA MVP, sleeps 12 hours a day while practicing and training.

● Steve Nash, two-time NBA MVP, napped before each game and credited his long career to proper sleep.

● Roger Federer, tennis great and winner of 18 grand slam titles, sleeps 11 to 12 hours a day.

● Cristiano Ronaldo, often ranked the best soccer player in the world and widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time, works with a personal sleep coach who assists him in getting proper sleep and recovery.

 

Rest Like a Pro Athlete

Not getting the rest you need each night has significant consequences for your performance and physical health. These guidelines will help you with your physical health and recovery process:

● After a strenuous workout or training session, make sure that you are properly scheduling rest so that you give your body the chance to recover fully from the degradation of training.

● Nap daily if possible to gain cognitive benefits such as improved creativity, memory, and productivity. Our recommendation is sometime between 1-3 pm, when you have a natural dip in your energy levels. *We don’t recommend napping in the evening, as it can spill over and disrupt sleep.

● Nap in increments of either 10, 20, or 90 minutes when possible! Read more.

 

What You Can Do to Improve Your Sleep

After a workout, be sure that you have scheduled enough time that evening for adequate rest.

1. Take either a 20-minute or 90-minute nap before/after your workout to boost recovery.

2. Air your bedroom each night to get fresh oxygen—a critical component of recovery.

 

Tomorrow, we’ll show you how to use sleep to regulate your emotions, reduce stress, and boost your happiness!

 

Recommended reading

Want to Get Faster and Smarter? Sleep Ten Hours

Why Athletes Should Make Sleep a Priority in their Daily Training

Ongoing Sleep Improves Athletic Performance

 

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