Sleep – The Most Powerful Recovery Tool
Sleep And Recovery For Athletes
When we refer to sleep we normally associate it with tiredness or feeling lethargic. However, this article is going to dive a little deeper in to the hormonal responses to sleep or lack of, how much sleep we should be aiming for and why and how best to achieve it.
THE VIDEO: Sleep – The Most Powerful Recovery Tool
What hormone is responsible?
The circadian rhythm which, is essentially our sleep cycle is controlled by a hormone called Melatonin and it is this hormone that is produced more so at night-time by reduced light entering the eyes. You may have also noticed that Melatonin comes in supplement form. However, large doses can cause increased drowsiness and very large doses can actually affect the human reproductive system.
What are the pros of more quality sleep?
- Improves productivity and concentration.
- On a performance stand point, it helps reduce inflammation and promotes recovery.
- Can have a positive effect on managing depression.
- Aesthetics… more sleep helps burn fat and maintain muscle mass.
What changes can you make to improve sleep?
- Getting more natural bright light exposure in the early part of your day has been shown to improve sleep quality and productivity. Look to throw in a walk on your daily commute or pop out for lunch and catch a bit of raze for at least 20 minutes.
- Manage your macros before bed. Carbs + protein = Tryptophan which, increases Serotonin that converts to….Melatonin! Just try to avoid eating 2-4 hours before you hit the pillow and try to avoid caffeine after 2pm.
- Create a sleep cave. The optimal temperature for perfect sleep is 19 degrees! Sounds low, right? You can normally go by how you feel. However, opt for cooler over warmer temperatures. Blue light effects the amount of Melatonin released and so avoiding the use of your phone, TV or Ipad will have a significant effect on your sleep.
- Fat burner. As mentioned earlier, there is research that states less sleep during the midweek reduces the rate of fat loss and increases the rate of muscle atrophy. Basically, if you’re not getting the optimal amount of sleep, your body will burn more muscle and less fat. Aim for at least 6.5-8 hours a night 7 days a week. Aiming to catch sleep up over the weekend doesn’t seem to work!
Here at Performance Ground, we believe in an evolution over a revolution approach as too much change too soon for anyone is not conducive. Look to make small selective changes gradually!