Sleep...the missing link to optimizing performance.
When it comes to health and fitness, working out and diet are often the first things that come to mind. Though those are important, sleep is another factor that is often neglected.
With life’s increasing demands and expectations, it’s easy to push back that bedtime or wake up early to get a head start on the day.
While it’s okay to be a night owl or early bird, it’s important that you let your body rest and recover with a solid night's sleep. When lack of optimal sleep becomes a habit, our health & performance will begin to suffer the consequences.
Ideally, we should get 7-8 hours of QUALITY sleep per night.
😴 Benefits of 7-8 hours of quality rest 😴
- reduced stress and inflammation
-reduced gremlin production aka the hunger hormone = less cravings ❌
-improved concentration, mood and energy
-improved immune system
💪🏼less sick time = more gym time💪🏼
-increased production of growth hormone (essential for athletic recovery‼️)
-enhanced fine motor skills and reaction time ⛹🏼♂️
In other words, quality sleep is key if you want to MAXIMIZE your performance! Major emphasis on quality, because that's where the magic happens. When we get quality sleep, our body is able to tap into more restorative sleep stages of slow wave sleep (SWS) and REM sleep. Slow wave sleep is the time when your muscles repair and grow. During this stage the body produces 95% of its daily supply of growth hormones. GO BACK AND READ THAT AGAIN. As an athlete, training sessions break down muscle tissue, and then rebuild and grow during slow wave sleep. An optimal amount of time spent in SWS sleep per night is around 22% of your total sleep. If we miss out on quality SWS sleep, we are missing a huge component of recover and natural performance enhancement!
Next we have REM sleep. This is when the BRAIN is restored, and when ideas and skills acquired during the day are cemented as memories. This is where skills such as technique, agility, sport specific movements, coordination, etc. are hardwired into our brain. As it relates to athletes, any time you are practicing a technical skill, the actual consolidation and retention of that learning happens during REM sleep.
If you're looking to optimize your health & performance, it may be time to really prioritize good sleeping habits and take advantage of what we believe is THE MOST IMPORTANT form of recovery...and it's free ;)
So ask yourself...when was the last time you gave yourself 8 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep? 🤔
As always, check yoself before you wreck yoself! Happy ZZZZZ's
Dr. Jodi Hierholzer, PT, DPT
Dr. Sarah Latham, PT, DPT
BODY WORX Physical Therapy