Sleep and Performance

After reading this post it should be clear why I posted my electronics for a post on sleep.  On February 12, 2014 I listened to the Krush Performance show, the featured guest was Dr. Samuel from the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance in Calgary.  Dr. Samuel worked with the Canadian Olympic team on their sleep programs prior to travelling to Sochi and the sleep plan while they were there. If you have time to listen to the interview I highly recommend you do so, but if you don’t have the time I am going to try and summarize the key points.

Why is sleep important?

1. Sleep forms the foundation of recovery.

2. Athletes can tolerate massive training loads given proper time to recover.

3. Training under-rested impacts the end goal. It limits the impact of nutrition.  There is a decrease in the efficiency of calories consumed to build muscle and recover from injury. Insulin and glucose regulation is affected.  Cognitive function and the immune system is compromised.

What Can you Do?

1. Figure out how much sleep you require each night to function. Multiply by 7 to figure out the sleep needs for a week.  This number is not how much sleep you are getting. It is how much sleep you need to be effective.

2.  Develop a plan to get the sleep requirements for the week.  Strategies need to work around training, lifestyle, family, school, . . .

Other Things to Consider

  • Napping is positive
  • High intensity training in replace of other types of training may decrease the amount of training time needed so that there is more time for sleep.
  • Sleep needs change with the periodization of training.
  • Being a few hours under the ideal amount of sleep per week is okay.  It is massive amounts of sleep debt you need to be concerned about.


The Rules

  • Turn off phones, tablets, handheld gaming devices, laptops and computers at 8pm.  The light emitted suppresses melatonin secretion. (which is a driver for sleep)  Dim light melatonin onset occurs between 6-8pm.  More importantly turn the devices off because the activity on the devices is stimulating.
  • Athletes SHOULD NOT be using over the counter or prescription sleep aids unless absolutely necessary.  If being used it should always be administered by a doctor.   Using sleep aids indicates a problem.  Treat the behavioural problem first.

Dr. Samuel does not feel television is as bad as devices that are held.  The major reason is because television is watched from a much further distance. Besides that, athletes do not have that much time to be watching television especially if they are in school.

There is a resource on the Canadian Sport for Life website called Sleep, Recovery, and Human Performance.  It contains lots of useful information for parents, coaches, and athletes.

Please share this blog with others.  If you have any comments please share below or on my Facebook Page.

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