Posted on February 27 2022

Sleep plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy body and mind, but it also plays a pivotal role in athletic performance. However, sleep is a key element often overlooked and utilising adequate sleep can help support your athletic and performance goals. Let’s take a closer look at why sleep matters.

Sleep is Restorative

Many critical restorative functions in the body occur during sleep. Even though we are not conscious while we sleep, the brain and body are extremely active undergoing processes to help the body recover from the day before. Sleep is also crucial for strength training recovery and helps support the muscle-healing process. The body actively repairs and builds tissues during sleep. Hormones are also released to support overall muscle development. It’s important to secure quality sleep each night and allow the body to cycle through all five stages at least four to five times each night.

Stage One. Lightest stage of sleep

Stage Two. Disengage with surroundings

Stage Three and Four. Beginning of deep sleep. Muscles relax, blood supply to muscles increases, and recovery can occur.

Stage Five (REM): Brain consolidates and processes information from the day before so it can be stored in your long-term memory


Inadequate Sleep

Sleeping helps the body and brain goes through crucial processes and without it we simply can’t function optimally. Sleep deprivation may potentially lead to a decrease in performance and chronic sleep deprivation may pose negative long-term effects on overall health. Sleep can be a factor keeping you from achieving your goals. Ultimately, lack of quality sleep may potentially impact many aspects including …

  • Body’s ability to build maximum muscle strength
  • Muscle recovery time
  • Muscle memory
  • Focus
  • Coordination
  • Level of fatigue during activities
  • Decision making skills
  • Nutritional choices
  • Mood
  • Motivation

Optimal Sleep

The National Sleep Foundation (USA) recommends that healthy adults sleep about seven to nine hours each night. Competitive athletes may require additional hours to help support muscle recovery. However, more is not always better. More sleep does not equal increase muscle recovery. Keep moderation and balance in mind and find what works best for you. In addition, the recommended ranges are good to abide by, however it’s important to understand your own body and needs. Determine how much you sleep you need according to how you feel. Some may feel that they need less than recommended or more – adjust accordingly so you feel renewed each day. Not only is time important, but also securing consistent uninterrupted quality sleep each night is important. Remember the body should cycle through the five stages of sleep at least four to five times each night.

Sleep Matters

Quality and amount of sleep are key components of recovery and performance. Adequate sleep supports the body’s ability to recover and consolidate memory. Inadequate sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy, and poor focus and it may also slow recovery post-exercise. Obtaining adequate quality sleep each night can help an individual to feel rested and restored.

Author: Optimum Nutrition



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