Sleep And Athletic Performance
A common saying among weight trainers is “you don’t get stronger while you’re lifting, you get stronger while you’re recovering”. That’s because the body adapts to become stronger, faster, or more aerobically capable not while you’re engaging in a fitness activity, but while its making its repairs. When do those repairs happen? Thanks to the body’s complex hormonal systems, the vast majority of them can occur only while you’re sleeping.
Sleep And Hormone Balance
The two most important hormones for athletic improvement are human growth hormone (or HGH) and cortisol. HGH is, by and large, only secreted during sleep, and HGH is what’s necessary for physical adaptation to occur. Cortisol, on the other hand, is a “stress hormone” that can appear in response to lack of sleep and lack of calories. Over time, excess levels of cortisol in the blood stream not only contributes to an unpleasant “burnt-out” feeling, but it can actually lead to high blood sugars, weight gain, and muscle catabolism and wasting. That’s right: too much cortisol can actually make you fatter and less muscular, exactly what most athletes do not want. Just as a serious athlete would never under-eat while they’re training, they should also be committed to avoiding under-sleeping.
What Sort Of Mattress Is Best For An Athlete?
While there are many different types of mattress on the market, athletes need to keep a few things in mind. FIrst, they will be using their mattress more than the average person, because an athlete should sleep 1-2 hours more per night than a non-athlete. This means that using a quality mattress is even more important for them than for the average person, so if you’re an athlete and have been avoiding buying a new mattress, it’s time to stop. Second, they need to choose a mattress that will provide great musculoskeltal support. Sleeping all night on a mattress that doesn’t support the spine in proper alignment is uncomfortable, and can lead to pain, stiffness, and tightness–and possibly even an injury–the next day.
Athletes can ensure they’re using the correct mattress by taking the time to try any mattress before purchasing it. Memory foam mattresses are a great option for those who need a supportive, yet comfortable sleeping surface.
Sleep And Athletic Performance – www.sleepfoundation.org
Can Sleep Improve Your Athletic Performance? – www.webmd.com