Hey sleepy head. Did you feel groggy today? Need a nap? Coffee? Preworkout? Energy drink? Yes, we’re going to talk about sleep. Yes, I know you’ve heard it before…sleep is important.
But why…we could dive off into a long and boring conversation about all of the benefits of sleep but let’s just keep it simple…one word simple…RECOVERY. Your body only recovers when it is able to rest. Muscle repair from a hard practice or workout only happens when you sleep. Your brain processes and organizes things when you sleep (you know that routine you keep trying to memorize…). No supplement, energy drink, medication, anything will replace what sleep does to help your body recover. Research continues to prove the importance of sleep and even more recently, has shown that ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE (that’s you) is also directly affected by sleep.
We need to focus on two things when it comes to sleep; Quantity and Quality.
Current recommendations are 7 hours of sleep for adults and up to 9 for younger. Most people are lucky to get 6. 7 hours is not that hard to achieve. We just need to take a couple of small steps. This leads me to my next point…
Quality of sleep is of equal importance. You need to get into REM (the deepest level of sleep) to get the full benefit of rest. In order to do this, lower the temperature in your room and turn off blue light emitting objects (tv, tablet, computer, phone, etc). I know you’re thinking I’m crazy with the phone comment…if you LITERALLY CAN’T EVEN when it comes to the phone, then turn off the blue light (google can explain how to do that).
Sleep is paramount to recovery and as an athlete, if you are not getting adequate rest, you are not only robbing yourself and your health, but the rest of your teammates as well.