For athletes, rest and recovery is often at the back of their minds, but for active individuals sleep is one of the most important training tools available, and one of the easiest things to change to improve performance.
An average adult needs 7-9 hours sleep. Most adults only get 5-7 hours, but elite-athletes sleep 10-12 hours. So how many hours sleep do you get?
What are the benefits of sleep?
There are 4 stages of the sleep cycle with different functions and benefits. Ideally we need to spend time in each stage so one problem people can have is not ever making it to stage 3 & 4 of the sleep cycle.
Stage 1: NREM1 Light sleep
- Light sleep where you are easily woken
Stage 2: NREM 2 Onset of sleep
- Muscles relax
- Body temperature drops
- Heart rate slows
- Breathing rate slows
Stage 3: NREM3 Restorative Sleep
- Blood pressure decreases
- Circulatory system repairs and recovers
- Blood flows to muscles increases
- Growth hormone release and repair muscles, bones and internal systems
Stage 4: REM Sleep
- Nervous system repairs and recovers
- New memories and information is processed
- Energy is restored
So how can you improve your sleep?
There are many ways in which you can help improve your sleep quality. Read our 9 top tips below and see if you can add an extra hour to your night time routine, take a power nap or improve the quality of your nights sleep.
There are some apps and smart watch functions that can help you track your sleep to say how much time you spend in each zone. These can help identify problems, but not find a solution. The most important thing is that your feel restored and recovered when you wake up.
Read more below and learn to sleep like a champion to improve your training and performance.