The Sleeping Influence

Written by: Kayte Corrigan If you’ve been training hard and eating clean, but still aren’t seeing significant improvement in your workouts consider your sleep patterns to be a possible factor. When we don’t get enough sleep from one night that sleep debt carries over into the next night, and the next and so on.

Although you can often mask the lack of sufficient rest with caffeine or energizing activities, internally your body still notices the difference. Your immune system suffers, you can experience increased cortisol levels while lowering growth hormone levels needed to repair the body. Externally you’ll feel a decrease in energy for day activities and workouts while your decision making suffers and less accurate execution of movement.
Most people require 7-9 hours of sleep per night. However, if you are in the middle of intense training for a challenge or a sport you need more than that to get into top form. It’s recommended to get an extra hour of sleep during times of rigorous training for your body to get the best rest, repair and preparation. That extra hour can be going to bed early, taking a nap, or sleeping in a little later.
A 2011 study of the Stanford Basketball team found that with an additional 2 hours of sleep a night boosted players’ sprint time 5% faster, and their free throws 9% more accurate. If you could see 9% better results, wouldn’t you catch some extra ZZzzz’s?
Need more information? Below is an excerpt from relating sleep to strength training and muscle repair.

As Dr. Dement notes, growth hormone is key, and “stimulates protein synthesis, helps break down the fats that supply energy for tissue repair, and stimulates cell division to replace old or malfunctioning cells.” If you wish to alter your body’s hormonal balance to accelerate recovery and supercompensation from your training program, a full night of sleep may again provide the answer.

As you fall into your deepest phase of sleep-“stage 4” sleep-the quantity of growth hormone released into your bloodstream is increased due to the action of growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH). GHRH is itself a sleep inducer, which fits with the suspected function of sleep: a physical state which serves to augment tissue repair, conserve energy, store sugars, and boost the immune system. Conversely, wakefulness appears to reverse these processes, at least in part.