Experts tell us that to improve athletic performance, sleep is one of the most critical components. The Better Sleep Council did a national survey in 2008 and found the following trends:
Getting nine hours of sleep each night means the better chance of performing higher-intensity workouts.
70 percent of people do not get adequate amounts of sleep every night so they are not able to perform at their best.
One of every three people surveyed feel that quality sleep is critical to improving physical performance.
Sleeping longer leads to faster sprint times, lower heart rate, more energy when working out, better endurance and improved mood.
When you are sleeping, your body is producing human growth hormone. This hormone is necessary for your muscles to repair themselves and grow. This is important for everyone, but especially athletes who work hard to improve endurance, speed and strength so that they can excel in their sport.
As you sleep, your body is working to improve muscle memory, your reaction time and your energy and motivation. Muscle memory is important to do the different things you do everyday. This, of course, includes exercise, but it also includes basic things like hauling in the groceries, playing with the kids and running up and down the stairs.
How Much Sleep do I Need?
The old adage about eight hours a night is true. 7.5 to 9 hours a night is what adults should be aiming for to help ensure that their body is properly rested and repaired. It is estimated that those that are very active, such as athletes, should actually add an hour to this estimation every night to make sure that they are getting enough sleep. This extra 60 minutes can give you that extra edge that you need to take your game or workout to the next level.
Sleep does help, but you want to make sure that you are fully awake before exercising to get the full benefits. It is best to exercise between 5pm and 7pm. This is a time where you are most alert and it will not affect your circadian rhythm. This is good news for those who work a traditional job because you can get your workout in after work.
You want to avoid morning workouts because your body is still adjusting to being awake. For example, you are warming up because your body temperature lowers as you sleep and takes a while to return to normal after waking up. If you wake up and then hop on the treadmill, for example, you risk overheating and exhaustion.
On this same note, you want to avoid working out late at night because it can affect your body cooling down and getting ready for bed. If you exercise too close to bed time, you risk actually interfering with your sleep because you are essentially telling your body to stay awake.
About The Author: Brandon Travis works in the health and wellness field. He writes about sleep quality and snoring cures which help people realize a better nights rest. When he isn’t working he likes to spend time with his 2 sons teaching them about the great outdoors.