Sleep- An Intricate Dance For Athletes
“If I didn’t have the responsibilities of an adult, I would nap every afternoon.” Sleep, by definition is A natural periodic state of rest for the mind and body, in which the eyes usually close and consciousness is completely or partially lost, so that there is a decrease in bodily movement and responsiveness to external stimuli. During sleep the brain in humans and other mammals undergoes a characteristic cycle of brain-wave activity that includes intervals of dreaming. While we are in sleep our bodies begin the task of repairing the body from the past day’s workouts. Growth Hormone secretion is high; other androgens are making their way through the body to heal, and the brain cycles through (files away) the days thoughts. Some say this is why we dream.
If we loose sleep and our body does not have the adequate rest time to recover, sports performance can be hindered. Sleep deprivation can lead to decreased glycogen synthesis and an increase in cortisol (hormone that allows us to experience stress). Glycogen synthesis is the bodies ability to synthesize glucose, allowing the body to have sufficient fuel for the next day’s workout. Most glycogen storage is supplied for a 90 minute workout. Now, if an athlete is sleep deprived and lacking fuel while working out… negative performance will happen. It may not happen suddenly but overtime the athlete will experience increased stress, irritability, impatience, the inability to concentrate, moodiness, injury and decreased performance.
Lack of sleep could be the deal breaker between an athlete and his or her sport. That’s why it’s essential to get some shut eye. Strength Athletes get at least eight hours of sleep per night and a micro nap mid day (20-45 minutes). Micro naps allow the brain to ‘recharge.’ If you can’t find the time, learn how to sleep standing. Military soldiers find cat naps where ever they can and have become masters of sleeping while standing. That may be a bit too much, but there are always places you can lay down, even if for 5 minutes.
Marketing monsters have been publicizing 5 hour energy, monster, red bull etc. They don’t give you wings, they give you problems. Caffeinated drinks are not energy. Energy is calories so if your tired eat something. Minimal sleeping and relying on an energy drink will only worsen your situation by driving you full stem ahead into adrenal fatigue. So, keep it simple, train smart and sleep to recover.