Fitness: Dormez pour améliorer vos performances – The Kingston Whig-Standard

Fitness: Dormez pour améliorer vos performances – The Kingston Whig-Standard

août 5, 2019 0 Par admin

Translating…

There has been a lot of ink devoted to the important role training and nutrition play in maximizing athletic potential. Yet the value of a good night’s sleep has largely been ignored. But with the recent addition of apps that track sleep patterns and promote the health benefits of a sound sleep, more and more coaches and athletes are paying attention to getting the requisite 40 winks.

For years, discussions around sleep and exercise were centred on the theme that they were strange bedfellows, with claims that exercise too close to bedtime disrupts sleep. Add to that the propensity for athletes to partake in early morning workouts and evening competitions, and it’s clear that the lifestyle of an athlete doesn’t lend itself to healthy sleep habits.

Yet more and more research suggests that athletic performance is improved when athletes lengthen the time spent sleeping. And more and more sleep experts are promoting the importance of educating athletes on good sleep hygiene.

The science of sleep suggests that it’s one of the best recovery strategies available to hard-working physically depleted athletes. Considered valuable down time, the body uses the hours spent in repose to repair and recharge overworked muscles, joints, soft tissue and energy systems. So valuable is sleep that experts recommend athletes get nine to 10 hours of shut-eye a night versus the seven to nine hours recommended for the general adult population.

Despite the importance of adequate sleep, athletes often complain of not getting enough. Sometimes the problem is chronic, largely because of a lifestyle that demands early mornings and/or late nights, lots of caffeine and too much stress. And sometimes the problem is situational because of jet lag, sleeping in unfamiliar beds, eating unfamiliar foods and/or pre-competition anxiety.

One study reported that 68 per cent of athletes experience poorer-than-normal sleep on the night prior to competition, resulting in an average total sleep time of five hours, 51 minutes. Another study stated that 64 per cent of the 283 elite athletes subjects slept worse than usual in the night(s) prior to an important competition, with 42 per cent reporting an increase in daytime sleepiness after a poor night’s sleep.

Much of the advice on how to solve short- and long-term sleep problems remain based on myth

Even with a robust body of science offering guidance on how to get a good night’s sleep, much of the advice on how to solve short- and long-term sleep problems remain based on myth.

Still, even science has its limitations when it comes to sleep and athletic performance. A lack of real-world simulations replicating the type of sleep challenges athletes encounter and too few studies using athletes as subjects make it difficult to apply all findings to an athletic population.

Most athletes aren’t faced with situations where they stay up all night or spend 24 hours without sleep, both common study designs for investigating sleep deprivation. Instead, athletes are more likely to rack up sleep debt by losing an hour or two of good quality sleep several, if not most, nights of the week. Or they suffer from an acute bout of sleep loss after spending the night tossing and turning before a big race, game or competition.

Those studies that have been done with athletes indicate that the effect of too little sleep on performance varies considerably based on the type of activity. For sports that demand significant technical and tactical skill and high levels of concentration, sleep is vital to peak performance. Sleep deprivation has long been associated with lapses in decision-making, attentiveness and judgmental errors. Also negatively affected is reaction time and agility. Physiologically, chronic lack of sleep results in reduced heart-rate recovery after a tough workout, diminished cardiovascular endurance and a heightened level of perceived exertion. Athletes missing sleep exercise to fatigue faster than well-rested athletes.

Psychologically, sleep deficit is associated with more mood swings, a greater feeling of listlessness and a lack of energy.

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Yet despite all these side-effects, some activities have proven to be unaffected by short-term sleep debt. Studies comparing the performance of well-rested athletes versus those lacking in sleep have demonstrated no reduction in performance during short bouts of high-intensity exercise like weightlifting and sprinting.

So how do athletes fight back against a schedule that promotes sleep debt? First, it’s important for coaches and athletes to put a priority on sleep. Where possible, scheduling changes should be made, even if it allows for just an extra hour of shut-eye a night. And napping during the daytime should not only be encouraged, it should be part of a formal training program. So, too, should education on good sleep hygiene, which has been shown to result not only in more time spent sleeping but also improvements in athletic performance.

What kinds of habits promote better sleep? Athletes who typically compete or train in the evening should establish a post-competition routine that allows for a gentle introduction to sleep. Keeping a regular bedtime and avoiding technology helps. So does a cool, dark and quiet place to sleep, with eye masks and earplugs to help filter noise and light if necessary.

And remember, nothing feels better than a good nap, so go ahead and catch up on your sleep during the day. Consider it a vital part of your training.


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