SLEEP – THE ULTIMATE LEGAL PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUG

REASONS TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP QUALITY:

  • Body weight management
  • Muscle growth and recovery
  • Stress regulation
  • Improved overall health and reduced injury rates
  • Prolonged playing careers
  • Better accuracy and faster sprinting times
  • Faster reaction times
  • More focus, motivation and memory

ARE YOU GETTING THE MOST OUT OF A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP?

Before we get stuck into things, I am going to take a punt!

There is a good chance that you have been up since the crack of dawn, worked all day, and if you were lucky, managed to sneak into the gym for a quick sweat and a few extra bicep curls before heading home.

If that’s the case, you are probably tucked up in bed, on your smart phone or tablet, ready to repeat the cycle tomorrow. If so, take this opportunity to knock your device into Night Shift Mode’ before finishing off this night time read, you will thank me later!

INTRODUCTION

The importance of sleep quality and duration on both health and physical performance is well documented within academic literature, from reducing the incidence of catching a common cold, to reducing the risk of injury in sport. So why do so many of us push our luck and abuse this vital recovery tool we know as sleep?

When we sleep, your body goes through way more than you think. Each person will typically go through four or five sleep cycles a night, six if you’re lucky! Naturally, it takes around 90 minutes for our body to go through the stages of sleep which constitute a ‘cycle’, these have been highlighted below:

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Image from: https://blog.withings.com/2015/03/17/the-4-different-stages-of-sleep/

It is during the deep sleep stage where we reap the major physical restorative benefits of sleep, such as; increases in testosterone and improved muscle recovery. We hope to spend roughly 20% of our sleep in this deep sleep stage. 

CIRCADIAN RHYTHM

We have all heard of the term early birds and night owls, right?

So, which category would you put yourself in? Would you rather get your head down early and be awake and fresh at the crack of dawn? Or… do you stay awake into the early hours of the morning and sleep until midday?

This is known as our circadian rhythm aka the body clock! You may not realise it, but this can have a significant impact on your day-to-day life, especially if you’re a keen gym goer! A recent study conducted by Maukonen et al.,(2017) aimed to assess over 1,400 participants sleeping and eating habits, this is what they found: