Neglect sleep at your peril if you want to up your performance in sport, warns The Sleep Council.
As millions reach for their trainers and pull on the lycra, inspired by Wimbledon, the Tour de France, the Ashes, the Women’s World Cup and a myriad of other sports this summer, sleep should be an important part of the training plan.
Said Lisa Artis, of The Sleep Council: “Elite sportsmen and women know how vital it is to build quality sleep into their training, but what works for the best works for everyone. All athletes, whatever their level, perform better if they have a good sleep routine.”
Researchers at Stanford University found that if you’re consistently sleep-deprived your ability to adapt is lessened, due to alterations in the processes required for muscle tissue and growth hormone.
Said Lisa: “Not getting enough sleep doesn’t just make you tired but it impacts on the way your body repairs itself. Sleep is restorative and as critical to a healthy lifestyle as diet and exercise.”
The same Stanford University study found that those bagging 10 hours sleep a night showed significant improvements to sprint times, shooting percentages and energy levels after a few weeks compared to those managing six to eight hours.
Said Lisa: “Studies also suggest that those who exercise enjoy better sleep, being able to nod off more quickly and stay asleep longer after just 16 weeks of regular training. (1)
“It’s not just getting out of breath which helps tire you out. Yoga has been shown to improve sleep quality and patterns (2). While some yoga poses are designed to energize the body, others reduce stress and prepare the body for relaxation.
“Whatever your sport, exercise is a bedtime winner. Getting active will help you to get more sleep and more sleep leads to better athletic performance.”
(1) Stanford University 2011.
(2) Harvard Medical School 2013.