One of the main focuses of athletes and people who want to keep fit and build muscles is to improve their performance. They engage in daily routines that involve exercise, strength training, eating healthy foods, staying away from unhealthy lifestyle habits, resting, and sleeping. All of these provide the best results when combined properly. When one area is lacking, performance is likely to suffer.
"Getting enough sleep is crucial for athletic performance," says David Geier, MD, sports medicine specialist and orthopaedic surgeon.
Sleep may seem like the one activity that requires little to no effort, but it may have the most impact on your general health and wellbeing.
Why Is Sleep Important?
Whether you are an athlete or no-athlete, sleep is essential for helping our bodies and minds to function daily. Every human needs sleep to recover lost energy and through physical and mental activities.
Since most adults are highly active, sleep is the best way to ensure that the heart rests and damaged tissue and cells are repaired. Physical exertion through strength training and other intense activities can take a toll on the muscles, which need sleep to recover.
Another reason why sleep is important is that it helps to prevent illness. Your body produces hormones during sleep that assist the immune system to fight off different types of infections.
How Much Sleep Is Needed?
For most people, 7 to 9 hours of good nights sleep is usually enough. But if you are an athlete or a bodybuilder, then you may need more. An extra hour of sleep is suitable for athletes, bodybuilders or anyone who engages in strenuous and high-intensity activities. "Just as athletes need more calories than most people when they are training, they need more sleep, too," says Geier. Since your body is undergoing more intense activity than regular people, it needs more sleep time to recover. To get more sleep, you can sleep earlier or take a power afternoon nap. Several studies have demonstrated that increased sleep duration and quality leads to increased competitive achievements.
How Getting Enough Sleep Improves Performance
Getting enough sleep means that the body has enough energy for the activities of the next day. Not getting enough sleep doesn't only make you tired the next day; it also has a big impact on what’s happening in your body” says Geier.
Athletes and individuals who engage in strength training and different workouts have shown remarkable improvement in multiple aspects of their performance. The benefits of sleep are noticeable in areas including motor function, reaction time, focus, muscle recovery, motivation, memory, learning and many more.
As with most areas of life, quality is always more important than quantity, and sleep is not an exception. Sleeping excessively will not do you more good than sleeping moderately. Your body likes to be active, and several hours of sleep beyond moderation may begin to impact your health and performance negatively. Keep in mind that the purpose of sleep is to help the body repair, recover, and improve memory.