Friday, 14 February 2014

Training recovery and sleep.

Recovery shakes, high protein diet, rehydration and energy gels are all the sort of things that we are told we need to "maximise or performance" and get "the results we've always dreamed of". Funny how in these adverts we rarely see "make sure you're in bed by half past nine" or "a cozy duvet improves muscle recovery and growth"!

Ok, so they aren't the catchiest of strap lines but it's a fact that we often neglect sleep when it comes to training.

In my case it's a combination of family life and distance from the wall which cause me to miss out on sleep. In our house we tend to get up at about 6.30 in the morning to give us time to walk the dog, have some breakfast and get the fire lit before we take my wife to work. Most days and I usually manage to get to bed sometime between 10.30 and 11pm which realistically gives around 7 hours of quality sleep. There is a regular exception to this and that's nights when I climb at the wall, this can mean I don't get to bed until 11:30 which can knock quality sleep down to 6 hours on precisely the night I need the most sleep.

At the moment I'm sat at the computer nursing my second mug of coffee wondering why its not kicking in yet and Phoebe is having some quality Peppa Pig time. Nearly dozing off on the sofa earlier on this morning prompted me to have a bit more of a look into sleep and recovery and it turns out surprise surprise it's pretty vital.

Sleep, Athletic Performance, and Recovery

July 16, 2010
Many of the world's greatest athletes eat, sleep, breathe, and live for their sport. But did you know that in addition to physical 
conditioning and conscious eating, sleep plays a major role in athletic performance and competitive results?
Getting a good night's sleep is critical to peak performance during the day, regardless of activity. REM sleep in particular 
provides energy to both brain and body. If sleep is cut short, the body doesn't have time to complete all of the phases 
needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation, and the release of hormones. The quality and amount of sleep athletes 
get is often key to winning their sport. Tennis great Serena Williams told a UK publication that she usually sleeps well and 
enjoys going to sleep early (around 7 pm). On the website of cyclist Lance Armstrong is a LiveStrong dare to get six to eight
 hours of sleep to improve mood, performance, and concentration during the day. A study in the journal SLEEP confirms the
 role of sleep in performance with results that show declines in split-second decision making following poor sleep and
 increases in accuracy among well-rested subjects. Exercise depletes energy, fluids, and breaks down muscles. 
Hydration and the right fuel are only part of the equation for training and recovery. What athletes do in the moments during a
nd immediately after competition also determines how quickly their bodies rebuild muscle and replenish nutrients to
 maintain endurance, speed, and accuracy. Some research suggests that sleep deprivation increases levels of cortisol
 (as stress hormone) and decreases productions of glycogen, carbohydrates stored for energy use during exercise and 
physical activity. In short, less sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy, and poor focus at game time. It may 
also slow recovery post-game. Recently a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, suggested that co-ingestion of large 
amounts of caffeine with carbohydrates after an exhausting workout rapidly replenishes glycogen, the muscle's primary
 fuel source. So whether you’re at the top of your game or in the game for the fun of it, getting the proper amount of sleep 
each night is necessary to face the world with your best foot forward. Sleep will help you on the road to good fitness, good 
eating, and good health. 

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