Whether you’re working out to stay healthy or preparing for a big event, sleep is essential.
We all know that rest and recovery is part of the training program, but when push comes to shove, are we really getting the adequate sleep needed to allow our body’s the best chance for success? Casper, a sleep start-up that created the perfect mattress, sheets and pillow for everyone, has some great information on ways we can sleep like a champion.
Sleep Like a Champion
Research shows that adults need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep a night, but in reality we are only getting five to seven hours. Compare that to the number of hours that many pro-athletes get, which averages between ten and twelve hours, and you can see that we are in need for some extra shut eye. As runners, we need more sleep than the average adult because the grueling demands we make of our bodies. The harder you train, the more sleep you need to take allow your body to take advantage of the strength you are adding.
For active individuals, sleep is one of the most important training tools available, yet many training tips usually focus on rigorous schedules and strict diets.
Based on a sleep extension study performed at Stanford University, the impact of sleep (or lack thereof) can have huge ramifactions. Reaction times have been showed to suffer by as much as 300% from a single all-nighter. On the flip-side, university football players proved that a good night’s sleep improved 40-yard dash times by 2.1%.
Knowing that sleep is important is one thing, but making lifestyle changes so that you can take advantage of the benefits sleep creates is another. Below are a few sleep tips for athletes so that they can not only sleep like a champion, but also perform like one as well.
Sleep Tips for Athletes
- *Aim to get eight to ten hours of sleep a night to help one’s body to recover.
- *Keep a regular sleep schedule (including the weekends). Getting up and going to sleep around the same time every day tells your body when it’s time to shut down and reboot.
- *Maintain a sleep environment that promotes restorative sleep. A dark room, supportive mattress, and a cool temperature are ideal.
- *Quick naps are important – especially before a competition.
Besides helping you feel refreshed, sleep is necessary because it is when your body repairs and regenerates any damage made from the day’s workouts. It is also the time in which your body builds bone and muscle to get ready for the next workout on your training calendar. Distance runners especially need that repair time to make sure muscles are recovering from the training their body’s are going through day after day.
FYI: This does not mean if you toss and turn the night before a race your performance will be negatively impacted. One or two nights of poor sleep does not seem to significantly affect a runner’s performance, but if you are in a cycle of poor sleep, this has been proven to lead to more injuries, slower times and poorer performance overall.