T here’s no secret that sleep plays a vital role in good health and various aspects of our brain function. When we are sleep deprived our cognition, concentration, productivity and performance are all negatively affected. Yet, despite the increasing awareness around the importance of sleep and it’s significant impact on muscle recovery, it continues to remain a worldwide problem. Recent research suggests that 6 in 10 Americans are sleep deprived. On a global scale, nearly 51% of the population is considered sleep deprived. In another world study, Japan was revealed to have the lowest international average, 5:59 of sleep – far from the recommended 7+ hours. Needless to say, the statistics are alarming.
”On a global scale, nearly 51% of the population is considered sleep deprived.
With increased attention on the importance of sleep, athletes are no longer overlooking the benefits that come with adequate rest and sleep now an essential component of recovery for athletic training. However, studies have shown that competitive athletes or highly active exercise enthusiasts, are suffering from poor sleep quality. Whether it be difficulty falling asleep, problems waking in the morning, frequent waking during the night, or a combination of more than one reason, most competitive athletes have reported experiencing these issues. Data from these reports has indicated that the more active you are, the more sleep you may need. The CDC recommends 7+ hours (in adults 18-60) to ensure adequate physiological and psychological recovery. Surprisingly, however, athletes falling into the more elite category (HS sports, collegiate, professional level), may require between 10-12 hours of sleep to properly recover. You may say to yourself, “that’s nearly half a day!” But take a moment and consider the amount of hours spent training per day, at an elite level (4-6 hours on avg). It becomes more conceivable that an athlete training rigorously, may require more rest to recover than the average person.
If you’re an athlete, no matter the level, improving your sleep quality is likely to improve several aspects of your athletic performance and general overall health. In past years, it was viewed that you could sacrifice some sleep and in some cases, should. Today, we’ve become more aware of the effects of sleep deprivation with effects similar to alcohol intoxication.
If there is one recommendation, we at Athleticus, would make, it is to start by taking a hard look at your current sleep routine and sleep habits. According to a neurologist at the Boston Medical Hospital that specializes in sleep and sleep disorders, patients that suffer severe insomnia are guided to follow a strict sleep routine: normalizing a fixed bedtime and morning wake time, in conjunction with cognitive behavioral training. More often than not, this holistic method is considered more effective than sleep medication.