Fighting Fit – Understanding sleep and athletic performance

Fighting Fit – Understanding sleep and athletic performance

A regular, health sleep schedule is imperative to your overall health.

By John Balfe - 30 Sep 2019

The majority of the world’s top athletes are fully aware of the sheer scale of what it takes to prepare your body for athletic competition.

There are the hours in the gym, the sacrifices to your social life, an unwavering diligence to your diet — but some of the most important preparation comes when you are doing nothing at all.

The amount of quality REM sleep an athlete gets can be directly linked to their performance in their chosen pursuit, be it in a cage, a ring, a track or the numerous other arenas of athletic performance. Sleep is hugely important not just to your physical recovery, but also to correct brain health as a sleep-deprived person isn’t as capable of harnessing memory, or releasing the necessary hormones your body needs to replenish itself overnight.

Correct sleep improves not just your performance but also your mood, and can help boost your metabolism. Tennis great Serena Williams has spoken in the past of her faith in getting adequate sleep, particularly at this latter part of her career, and has said that she sometimes goes to bed as early as 7pm.

While that luxury isn’t often compatible with most people’s schedules, the idea is a good one. Exercise depletes energy, fluids and breaks down muscle while also increasing the production of stress hormone cortisol. Less sleep also leads to fatigue, low energy and a loss of focus — all of which are fundamental attributes to successful athletes.

Eight hours is the recommended time to achieve a healthy might’s sleep, but another handy tip is to teach your body toΒ want to go to bed at a certain time as, while you may have the best of intentions, an irregular sleep schedule can undo some of your good work in the exercise room.

So remember, sometimes in order to improve yourself you have to do nothing but get into bed. It really is as easy as that.