“Getting enough sleep is crucial for athletic performance,” says David Geier, MD, director of Sports Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. Studies have found that good sleep can improve speed, accuracy, and reaction time in athletes.
Athletes spend a lot of time and money trying to improve performance from protein powders and recovery drinks, compression shorts, vitamins and new fancy running shoes, want a simpler and cheaper way? Go to bed an hour early.
Whether you’re an Olympic athlete, a weekend warrior, or a lunch time walker, getting enough sleep is key for a lot of reasons. Here are a few….
Decreased cortisol levels. The stress hormone produced by the body.
Increased growth hormone levels for muscle repair and recovery. Increased cortisol affects growth hormone
Reduced glycogen storage
Decreased reaction times
How much sleep do we need? Research suggests we need 7.5-8hrs of sleep and potentially more during very heavy training.
Are afternoon naps good for you? If you have not had enough sleep the night before then having a afternoon can be useful if it is no too long. Extended afternoon naps can leave you groggy and slow. This will also depend on the individual and the effect it has on you getting to sleep that night.
Tips for getting enough sleep.
- Make time for sleep
- Start preparing for bed
- Turn of electronic devices and the TV.
- Don’t watch TV in bed.
- Don’t drink coffee and other stimulating drinks late in the day.
- Stretch in front of the TV before heading off to bed.
- Work out what works for you and develop a routine.
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