“ Regular, good-quality sleep is essential for your body’s physical repair process, but also for your mental health and agility,” says Dr Guy Meadows, sleep and sports scientist, and cross-channel swimmer.
Scientists divide sleep into five stages: “The deep sleep of stages three and four is when your body releases human growth hormone (HGH) to repair muscles and bones,” says Meadows. “Stage five is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. It’s when you dream, when you lay down memories and boost cognitive performance, enhancing skills and techniques you’ve learned during training.”
Research from Trent University in Ontario, Canada, showed complex learning tasks such as getting the hang of a new song on Guitar Hero become easier if you sleep well – so the same goes for learning swim technique or mastering fast transitions.
Good sleep, good performance.
The boffins who make it their business to find out what boosts athletic performance have revealed that good quantities of sleep increase sprint time, energy levels and shooting accuracy in basketball players; and improve athletic vigour and alertness for footballers.
A study using Stanford University men’s and women’s swimming teams also revealed that athletes who extended their sleep to 10 hours per day for six to seven weeks swam a 15m sprint 0.51 seconds faster, reacted 0.15 seconds quicker off the blocks, improved turn time by 0.10 seconds and increased kick strokes by five kicks, as well as setting personal bests.
Bad sleep ? You guessed it…
Just as filling up your Z-tank helps you reach optimum performance levels, skimping on sleep can put unwanted obstacles in the path to your next personal best. “There are basic things your body needs to function properly – temperature regulation, energy recovery, and heart function are all affected by sleep as well as things like concentration and focus.”
Studies have shown various detrimental effects of chronic sleep deprivation – from reducing the performance of the heart, to increasing blood pressure, anxiety and depression, and interference with blood sugar metabolism. “Lack of sleep over several weeks results in persistent fatigue and ultimately overtraining syndrome,” says endurance coach and sports scientist Scott Murray.
Read all here : Bike Radar