FOCUS ON SLEEP TO OPTIMISE YOUR RESULTS

 

The Impact on Training

Firstly, quality of sleep is getting enough of it at the right times and without it performance related factors such as concentration, mood and response time are affected (1). The issues don't remain just cognitive, but also translates directly into physiological issues such as the possibility of muscle strength decrements. In addition, good sleep quality is associated with greater muscle strength (2).

Sleep deprivation can lead to unaffected neuromuscular and aerobic performance (3), however the impact will remain specific to the individual and one area that is differently impaired is recovery!

The Impact on Recovery 

To be able to consistently perform we need to recover from previous sessions and lack of sleep will inhibit our recovery capabilities. One of the biggest factors with being under-recovered is overtraining, as progressive training performances are only tolerated through periods of rest and recovery (4). Impaired sleep will only heighten the chance of overtraining occurring (5).

Consequently, sleep deprivation decreases protein synthesis (cell repair) pathways and increases the activity of degradation pathways, ultimately, favouring muscle atrophy (loss of skeletal muscle mass) and any exercise that induces muscle damage or injuries will be impaired (6). In addition, smaller factors such as potentially increasing the chance of being insulin resistant (7) and due to carbohydrates being important in producing energy cognitively as well as physically (8), the supply of energy substrates to the muscle could be impaired (7). 

Recommendations

It can’t be denied that sleep is important for optimising your results and if you are regularly training it can be potentially suggested sleep requirements may need to be higher, due to the stress placed on the body compared to an individual who doesn't train. The following recommendations are adequate starting points to aim for (9):

  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours. 
  • Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours. 
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours. 

Resources 

  1. <a href='https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/patient-caregiver-education/understanding-sleep'>https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/patient-caregiver-education/understanding-sleep</a>
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5749041/
  3. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2018.01437/full#B45
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3435910/
  5. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17461390801954794
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306987711001800
  7. https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-198907040-00002
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5852829/
  9. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times
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