Rest & Recovery

Sleep Longer

Stage N3 sleep; EEG highlighted by red box. Th...

Here is another sleep article I stumbled across today, from the mobile BBC News site.

“We should look at sleep as an active process.

Getting enough sleep is a positive thing which will help you perform in all aspects of life.

It may be that extra sleep leads to more effective training routines and helps us learn patterns better.

Practice makes perfect – and that happens more quickly if you get enough sleep.”                        -Derk-Jan Dijk

 BBC 1 July 2011 Last updated at 02:36 ET

Sleeping longer ‘helps athletes reach peak performance’

The value of sleep has been reinforced by
yet another scientific study.
Sleeping man
The true value of sleep is often overlooked, researchers say.

Research published in the journal Sleep suggests that sleeping longer can markedly improve physical performance.

When Stanford University’s male basketball team was asked to sleep for 10 hours a night for around six weeks, their shooting accuracy improved by 9%.

The study at the US university found that getting enough sleep and rest was as important as training and diet for elite athletes.

Cheri Mah, researcher at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory, who worked with the basketball players, said that sleep was often overlooked.

“Intuitively many players and coaches know that rest and sleep are important, but it is often the first to be sacrificed,” she said.

The researchers asked the players to maintain their normal night-time schedule (sleeping for six to nine hours) for two-to-four weeks and then aim to sleep 10 hours each night for the next five-to-seven weeks.

During the study period, players stopped drinking coffee and alcohol. They were also asked to take daytime naps when travel prevented them from getting 10 hours of night-time sleep.

The study found that the players ran faster timed sprints (16.2 seconds at the start of the study compared with 15.5 seconds at the end), their shooting accuracy improved by 9% and their fatigue levels decreased.

The athletes also reported improved performance during competitive basketball games.

The findings suggest that it is important for sleep to be prioritised over a long period of time, not just the night before match-day, Mah says.

Sleep debt

She called optimal sleep an “unrecognised, but likely critical factor in reaching peak performance”.

She said the findings may be applicable to recreational athletes as well as those performing at school or at a higher level.

Before the study began, Mah and colleagues also discovered that many of the athletes felt sleepy during the day.

This indicated that they were carrying sleep debt accumulated from chronic sleep loss, she said.

“The athletes were unaware that it could be negatively impacting their performance.

“But as the season wore on and they reduced their sleep debt, many athletes testified that a focus on sleep was beneficial to their training and performance.”

Derk-Jan Dijk, professor of sleep and physiology at the University of Surrey, said we should look at sleep in the same way as exercise.

“We should look at sleep as an active process. Getting enough sleep is a positive thing which will help you perform in all aspects of life.

“It may be that extra sleep leads to more effective training routines and helps us learn patterns better. Practice makes perfect – and that happens more quickly if you get enough sleep.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-13974130

“In Addition, sleep improves our ability to make novel connections among seemingly unrelated ideas. In other words, it sparks our creativity.”

-From Dr. Dana Colson’s book, Your Mouth: The Gateway to a Healthier You


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Sleep Deficit Anyone?

Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See ...

Image via Wikipedia

There are many topics we need to cover regarding our health, aside from the essential physical activity our body requires to function.

My husband showed this article to me about a month ago, a little nudge to the fact that within our household we are not getting enough sleep. It’s written by Ian Brown from The Globe and Mail. Click on this link to read the article. I encourage you to; it may save your life. http://bit.ly/kZjCJr

In our house we’re up at 6am weekday mornings with the option to sleep in ‘till 8am on weekends.  Well, I have that option. My husband can’t sleep in past 6am, that’s just how his circadian cycle works. And anyone with kids (not teens) can attest to the fact that as difficult as it is for them to get up early on school days, for the life of them, kids cannot sleep-in on weekends.

For us to get close to eight hours sleep a night we need to be in bed before 10pm.

It’s usually my fault that we get to bed so late. Once the kids go to sleep and I’ve got my chores done I like to work on my blog or research or do something or other, just to have some creative time to myself.  But before I know it it’s half passed ten or eleven – so much for our eight hours sleep.

Actually, you do need eight hours of sleep a night.  This is not about being unique or getting away with less, because in truth you’re not getting away with anything – in the end it may well be that it is your health that is getting away from you.  It has been scientifically proven that by not getting this required sleep we put others and ourselves at risk.  Our reaction time and performance suffers, not to mention our health.

Maybe you have heard this before, I know I have.  But what you will find in this article are new studies that should wake us up to the importance and urgency of getting enough sleep now.  Sleep is not something that we can bank and use up later or catch up on.

Within this article are links to others, for example if you click on “Eight Ways to Get Better Sleep” by Leslie Beck who explains the benefits from moderate caffeine intake to the problems associated with excessive amounts, you will notice a few more links embedded in the article.  Such as a study, which explains why “Sleep-deprived People Eat More Calories” and if you “Want Your Children to Lose Weight? Send Them To Bed”.

Each link will take you to more solid research. It is a very impressive section.  I hope you will take some time to look it over.