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The Science Behind Sleep and Sport Recovery

Covid-19 might be an unprecedented disruption to life as we know it in Indonesia and around the world, as the pandemic brought economic marketplaces, social events and other fixtures that you used to take for granted to a halt. However, the coronavirus still has a silver lining in its cloud, among them renewed awareness of sports as a healthy lifestyle, as typified by the current trend of bicycling on Jakarta’s streets. The sports craze also highlighted the role of sleep in getting and staying fit, whether your sport of choice is taking your bike out for a spin around the block, training for a triathlon, or hitting those weights at your nearest gym.

The connection between sleep and sports

Medical specialists and athletes, both professional and amateur, naturally swear by the benefits of exercise and a balanced diet for a healthy life and getting them in shape. However, sleep.org pointed out that quality sleep is just as vital as the former two, due to its rejuvenating, reenergizing qualities, and their benefits in memory-making and information processing abilities.

“Sleep is a crucial third factor [after a balanced diet and exercise]. In fact, without [quality sleep], diet and exercise can suffer,” said the website. “Sleep ensures muscle growth, recovery and illness prevention. The benefits of sleep are especially important for athletes.” WebMD.com backed sleep.org’s findings. “Sleep is when your body repairs itself. If we don’t get enough sleep, we don’t perform well.”

They also recommended that athletes get “between seven to nine hours of sleep every night. However, elite athletes should aim for closer to nine hours.”

Sleep and muscle building

sleep.org has found that quality shuteye is connected to muscle building. “During sleep, crucial muscle-building growth hormone is secreted. This hormone production typically happens during deep sleep, also known as stage 3 of non-REM sleep,” the website said. “Also during sleep, your muscles relax. This relaxation allows your muscles to be relieved of tension and can reduce pain.”

The effects are particularly tangible when building up physical strength. “When you do strength exercises such as weight lifting, you create small tears in your muscles. These cells are repaired during sleep,” observed sleep.org. “These cells and tissues are repaired during sleep, making your muscles stronger. Sleep also boosts your overall muscle mass.”
 

sleep.org also warned that insufficient sleep can increase appetite inducing hormones and lower insulin sensitivity. “As a result, the muscle fuel source glycogen may not be replenished adequately. Without a regular restoration of glycogen, athletes are less likely to be able to train as strenuously or frequently…Additionally, when your insulin sensitivity decreases, your risk for diabetes increases.” Other side effects of insufficient sleep include impaired production of

growth hormones, as indicated by tense and sore muscles, as well as chronic pain in the long term.
 

Sleep, muscle coordination and athletic performance

Aside from building up muscle, sleep can help improve how you coordinate them to increase accuracy, speed and reaction. These include:

  • Increased accuracy: sleep.org cited a study on university tennis players which has found links between nine hours of sleep with marked improvements in accuracy. The study noted that “[the players’] serves improved incredibly: from 35.7% to 41.8% accuracy.”  On its part, Sleep Foundation used a Stanford University study on men’s basketball players which found links between 10 hours of sleep and enhanced performance. The research noted that the players “shooting improved by at least 9% for both free throws and three-point shots. The athletes also reported improved physical and mental well-being.” Sleep Foundation also found that sleep deprivation caused male and female players to have “decreased serve accuracy of up to 53% when compared to performance after normal sleep.”
  • Improved speed and reaction times: sleep.org found that university swimmers who slept for ten hours a night “dived off the block faster and improved their turn times. The athletes also improved their 15 meter swim times.” Sleep Foundation also found that the swimmers increased their kick strokes, as well as better moods, less sleepiness and fatigue. Sleep Foundation reported that sleep deprivation hampered the athletes’ sprint times, exhausted them even more quickly, and decreased reaction times. The website added that inadequate sleep made for “difficulty learning and decision making. Choices such as passing the ball or taking it to the net yourself,” which can be made in a split second, can be made to be more difficult or made late. Lack of sleep can also increase risk of injuries, particularly for middle and high school athletes.

Sleep and physical recovery

  • Sleep prevents illnesses: Sleep’s rejuvenating qualities for a healthy life are not limited to muscle coordination and performance, as a good quality slumber is just as effective in staving off illness. “As you sleep, your body produces cytokines, which are molecules that help the body’s immune system fight infections…On the other hand, a lack of sleep increases the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines…[that] impair the function of the immune system,” said sleep.org. The website also noted that it can increase your probability of falling ill.
  • Chronic lack of sleep: Sleep Foundation has found the connection between chronic lack of sleep and “risk for illness and immunosuppression. Poor sleep habits are associated with lower resistance to illness like the common cold.”

Tips for quality sleep

Quality sleep might be indispensable for you because it is essential to a healthy life. This is more of the case if you are an athlete, as it helps keep you on top of your game. Here are some tips to get the sleep you need:

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bedtime: Sleep Foundation urged that you refrain from alcohol and caffeine, as these drinks “can interrupt sleep or lead to more disturbed sleep.” WebMD.com backed these findings. “Two or three days before a competition, start cutting back on coffee and alcohol,” because of the drinks’ disruptive effects on sleep.
  • Stay away from electronics before bedtime: Sleep Foundation advised not using “TVs, cell phonescellphones or computers. The blue light that these devices emit can affect your circadian rhythm.”
  • Avoid overtraining: Sleep Foundation highlighted the need for “a consistent training schedule so as not to overexert yourself.” They also advised to “avoid training and competitions that are too early or too late…especially if your athletic schedule is inconsistent,” because of their adverse effects on sleep quality and quantity.
  • Brief naps: Sleep Foundation recommended brief naps of “no more than an hour and not taken after 3 pm.”
  • Reduce stressors: Sleep Foundation noted that stress can make or break quality sleep as much as external factors like alcohol, caffeine, electronic appliances and training. “Mental stressors [not only] affect sleep quality, but they also impact performance overall.”
     

Conclusion

Whether you are a professional or amateur athlete, quality sleep can make the difference between winning or losing, as well as getting on top of your game or being stuck in a slump. Experts noted that aside from sleep’s benefits for a healthy life, quality shuteye can play a role in an athlete’s accuracy, speed and reaction, as well as cognitive abilities and decision making, both of which are essential in making important plays.

These needs highlight the role of quality bedding products like those made by King Koil. Certified by the ICA (International Chiropractors Association) and the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA), these include mattresses that use a ‘Quality Sleep System’ based on Comfort, Support and Durability to enable sound, good quality sleep. The mattresses also used the New Zoned mattress system to give you optimum support for your back and spine.

Premium quality beds, such as the Super Premium King Koil Posture Bond or Premium King Koil Spinal Guard will further your need for quality sleep through the use of the All New Signature Gold Response. The Response is highlighted by the Auto Response Gold Coil as part of its Auto Zoning System to provide flexible support by adjusting pressure to your spine.

These and other products like bed linens, pillows, bolsters and quilts, and mattress protectors are also designed for the ultimate quality sleeping experience. So drop by the nearest King Koil outlet to get the most out of these products.
 

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