Sleep has a very big impact on muscle recovery. Sleep is so essential that – in the last 10 years alone -there has been a 4 000% (and we’re not overexaggerating) rise in scientific research on sleep science.
This increase probably stems from approximately 52% of team sport athletes reporting sleeping difficulties during a season. They got less than eight hours of sleep per night this was linked to almost twice the risk of injury as opposed to more than eight hours of sleep over a 21-month period.
Unbelievably, almost 60% of team sport athletes report NOT using any strategy to alter the negative effects of lost sleep.
Why Is Rest And Recovery Essential In Training?
Short-term recovery is key to maintaining – as well as improving – performance in addition to avoiding injury in all levels of athletic training.
Short-term recovery, which is sometimes called active recovery, encompasses the lower intensity cool-down phase after a challenging workout as well as an entire rest day that incorporates low-intensity exercise such as walking, stretching or yoga as well as other cross training. In addition, short-term recovery requires replenishing energy and fluid which is lost during exercise and getting sufficient amounts of sleep.
Before and after exercise, sleep quality is very important. Researchers suspect that it is deep sleep which helps to improve athletic performance as this is the time when growth hormone is released. Growth hormone is responsible for stimulating muscle growth and repair, bone building and fat-burning.
What Are The Benefits Of Sleep For Athletes?
Scientific research has recognised a number of different changes in performance for athletes who don’t get enough sleep or – alternatively – who have broken sleep. These include the following:
- Reduced jump power (and therefore jump height)
- Decline in exercise capacity (being unable to run as long – or having to work harder to complete the same amount of “work”)
- Declines in ability to adapt to training stimulus
- Diminished ability to build muscle and cardiovascular fitness
- Reduced ability to develop skills (like shooting technique / accuracy)
- Decreases in reaction time, decision making and memory
- Slower recovery from injury
- Declines in academic performance
- Simply, lack of quality sleep reduces physical and mental performance.
Proper sleep is vital to making decisions which may directly promote optimal recovery. Research has found that men and women deprived of sleep are much more likely to make bad nutrition choices. The participants in a study showed a much stronger neural response to “junk” food when they were sleep-deprived. The result is believed to be owing to a decrease in executive function (i.e., the inability to make the correct but frequently more challenging nutrition decision). Poor sleep is not just a one-time event, as it can definitely negatively influence daily decisions. Owing to the importance of nutrition on recovery, a sleep-deprived diet is not likely one that optimizes tissue healing or any performance.
Knowing how athletes are able to recover – from exercise – successfully is essential for sports coaches to know. Become an Advanced Sports Conditioning Coach with us and be a sought-after coach that everyone wants to hire.