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Sleep Part 1: How Sleep Impacts Your Physical Performance

Sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy body and mind, but it also plays a pivotal role in athletic performance. Let’s take a closer look at why getting your ZZZ's keeps you at the top of your game.

Sleep is Restorative

Many critical restorative functions in the body occur during sleep. Even though we are not conscious while we sleep, the brain and body are extremely active undergoing processes to help the body recover from the day before. Sleep is also crucial for strength training recovery and helps support the muscle-healing process. The body actively repairs and builds tissues during sleep. Hormones are also released to support overall muscle development. It’s important to secure quality sleep each night and allow the body to cycle through all five stages at least four to five times each night.

Stage One. Lightest stage of sleep.

Stage Two. Stage two starts. Disengage with surroundings.

Stage Three and Four. Beginning of deep sleep. Your muscles relax, blood supply to muscles increases, and recovery can occur.

Stage Five (REM): Your brain consolidates and processes information from the day before so it can be stored in your long-term memory.

Inadequate Sleep

Sleeping helps the body and brain go through crucial processes, and without it, we simply can’t function optimally. Sleep deprivation may potentially lead to a decrease in performance. Chronic sleep deprivation may pose negative long-term effects on overall health. Sleep can be a factor keeping you from achieving your goals. Ultimately, lack of quality sleep may potentially impact many aspects including …

  • Body’s ability to build maximum muscle strength
  • Muscle recovery time
  • Muscle memory
  • Focus
  • Coordination
  • Level of fatigue during activities
  • Decision making skills
  • Nutritional choices
  • Mood
  • Motivation

Optimal Sleep

Don't snooze on getting enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that healthy adults sleep about seven to nine hours each night. Competitive athletes may require additional hours to help support muscle recovery. However, more is not always better. More sleep does not equal increase muscle recovery. Keep moderation and balance in mind and find what works best for you. In addition, the recommended ranges are good to abide by, however it’s important to understand your own body and needs.

Determine how much you sleep you need according to how you feel. Some may feel that they need less than recommended or more – adjust accordingly so you feel renewed each day. Not only is time important, but also securing consistent uninterrupted quality sleep each night. Remember, the body should cycle through the five stages of sleep—at least four to five times each night.

Sleep Matters

Quality and amount of sleep are key components of recovery and performance. Adequate sleep supports your body’s ability to recover and consolidate memory. Inadequate sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy, and poor focus—and it may also slow recovery post-exercise. Getting adequate quality sleep each night can help you feel rested and restored.