Sleep and Performance Why It Matters | Physio4Life

Sleep and Performance

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Most people know the relevance of physical activity, how good it is for reducing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, anxiety and depression, and how it is crucial for a healthy lifestyle.

However, a lot of people who perform regular physical activity ignore resting. It is equally important and it can actually affect your performance.

Sleep is an essential component of health and well-being. It plays an important role in physical and psychological recovery. It has been reported to regulate key molecular mechanisms and has an integral role in metabolic homeostasis.

Also, sleep helps with consolidating your memory. Without sleeping the pathways in the brain that allow you to learn and make memories cannot be formed or maintained.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, adults require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep for optimal performance and health, but imagine that professional athletes like Usain Bolt or Roger Federer report sleeping for 10-12 hours to perform at their best level.

The evidence is clear about negative effects or a poor quality or quantity of sleep:

– Mentally, sleep deprivation affects the ability to react quickly and think clearly. Choices such as passing the ball or taking it to the net yourself can be more difficult or made too late.

– Decreased accuracy. After sleep deprivation, tennis players had decreased serve accuracy of up to 53% when compared to performance after normal sleep.

– Reduce physical Performance. In a study of male team-sport athletes who were sleep-deprived, average and total sprint times decreased.

– Increases irritability and the risk for depression and anxiety.

– Metabolites changes with sleep deprivation (increase cytokines, cortisol, serotonin, taurine, etc.) that has been associated with metabolic disorders such as obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes.

– The mechanism is not clear yet, but reduction in sleep has shown to increase the risk of musculoskeletal injuries in athletes.

– Could result in an autonomic nervous system imbalance and promote immune system dysfunction, resulting in a higher predisposition to getting ill.

– Sleep loss also led to an 11% increase in time to exhaustion, and perceived exhaustion increased 18% after only 30 hours of sleep loss

Sleep has substantial impacts on physical development, emotional regulation, cognitive performance, and quality of life. It is important for any active person, athletes or a patient in a recovery process to promote consistent sleep routines and sleep length for an optimal performance.

Natalia Munoz

Senior Chartered Physiotherapist and Osteopath

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