The Importance of Sleep for Recovery and Performance by CT Personal Trainer
The secret to achieving optimal performance is finding the proper balance of what is called the stress/fatigue state. The stress fatigue state is the balance between stress, fatigue, and recovery. In this instance the word stress refers to the physical demands of training. The most important aspect of achieving optimal performance is to promote proper recovery to lessen the negative affects of the stress/fatigue state. What is interesting is the fact that the biggest contributor to proper recovery, sleep, is the one that is most overlooked. Just as with training, there needs to be a focus on proper recovery techniques. Adaptations from training can never reach their peak without proper recovery.
A recent study in volume 35 of the Strength and Conditioning Journal determined what proper sleep should be for an elite athlete and different sleep techniques that would contribute to proper recovery, says Dan F. Personal Trainer in CT. While general sleep recommendations are 7-9 hours a night, it has been shown that athletes may require 10-12 hours of sleep per night due to the additional stresses of training. In a study where a college basketball team increased their nightly sleep to 10 hours a night over a 7 week period incredible enhancements to athletic performance were seen. In a 282 ft sprint times dropped from 16.2 seconds to 15.5 seconds; shooting accuracy also improved: free throws out of 10 went from 7.9 to 8.8 and 3-point shots increased 10.2 to 11.6 out of 15.
Along with improving overall hours of sleep the study also focused on other recommendations to improve quality of sleep and recovery. The greatest improvement to sleep quality was found to be promoting positive sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is simply creating sleep routines and habits that create a greater sleep experience. Some examples are: Maintain a regular sleep schedule; avoid coffee, alcohol, and nicotine in the hours before bed; avoid television, eating, working, or electronics in bed; maintain a comfortable room temperature for sleeping (~64°F); etc. There were also positive results found from proper napping. A 30 minute nap, after lunch following a night of partial sleep loss, improved the scores of performance based tests. Naps should be limited to 30 minutes and must also avoid late afternoon/evening as to not effect night time sleeping.
Here at Horizon Personal Training, we instill the importance of proper recovery to all of our clients. Sleep is just as important as proper diet and proper rest from activity. Without proper recovery a person will never reach full potential no matter how hard they train.
Dan is a leading success coach and General Manager at Horizon Personal Training in CT. He has helped 1000’s of people become inspired to transform their lives! He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, CSCS, through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is also has an Advanced Certified Personal Trainer (A-CPT) certification, and is currently working on his Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator certification.