When it comes to athletic performance, many people think the combination of diet and training is the key to success. Conscious eating and physical conditioning are crucial to strong performance as an athlete, but what if we told you sleep is equally as important?
It’s true! Quality sleep at night is often the key to winning the day, for everyone from the pros to the rec league basketball player and the weekend 5k racer.
Sleep Leads to Recovery
Sleep is the best way to recover after a rigorous training session. We may be resting, but our bodies use this time to repair themselves from the wear and tear of training.
While we sleep, our bodies release natural growth hormones that stimulate bone building, muscle growth and repair, and fat burning. Sleep supports cognitive functions like memory retention, which help us learn and remember new skills and body movements. Also, our bodies use the time we spend asleep to store energy that will be used during the next round of physical activity.
Sleep deprivation can be disastrous to physical performance because shorter sleep periods don’t provide the body with sufficient opportunity to regenerate cells and repair from the stress of workouts, games and daily activities.
Too Tired to Compete
Athletic activity puts a lot of demands on both your body and your brain. Without sleep, neither can keep up the pace and both will fatigue at a faster rate. This fatigue affects reaction time and the body’s immune system, meaning that sleep-deprived athletes are more susceptible to illness and injury.
Also, research from the National Sleep Foundation suggests that lack of sleep leads to increased levels of stress hormones. These hormones can trigger your body to go into a catabolic state, causing it to break down muscle and store fat – the exact opposite of what anyone normally needs.
Keep it Cool
Everybody is different, but athletes tend to sweat more during their sleep. This is because their metabolic rate is higher than average, and the extra metabolic activity and corresponding blood flow can lead to many athletes feeling like they “sleep hot.”
Personally, this is why I’m proud that Mattress Firm partners with innovative, scientific-minded brands like Beautyrest. Their team has been focused on the connection between sleep and performance for some time, and the technology within their products ensures anyone, especially those who train hard, can get a good night sleep.
Sleep is Essential
Most athletes simply would not believe you if you promised a treatment that could naturally increase growth hormones, improve muscle and tissue recovery rates, help prevent illness and injury, and reduce stress levels. The truth is, sleep does it all – no pills or powders needed!
At Mattress Firm, we want to do everything in our power to make sure everyone, from you and me to professional athletes, is getting their best sleep every night so we can be our best every day. Visit a Mattress Firm near you to check out the latest products to help you sleep happy.
About The Author
Ken Murphy With more than 15 years of experience with Mattress Firm, Ken Murphy has worn many hats, all of which (were Mattress Firm red, of course) prepared him to step into the role of president and CEO, and perhaps most importantly, his role as a contributor to The Daily Doze. Here on the blog, he shares his thoughts on the importance of a good sleep environment, the impact of a good night’s sleep on your career, and the importance of sleep for his family. At Mattress Firm, Ken keeps his finger on the pulse of the company as he oversees sales, field operations, marketing communications, digital strategy, learning and development, and talent management. His passion and gusto – widely known and recognized around the Mattress Firm offices – are the drivers behind his dedication to live out the Mattress Firm mission to improve lives one relationship at a time. In 2011, Ken was awarded Mattress Firm’s distinguished Spirit of Life award for his commitment to living out Mattress Firm’s mission and values in his day-to-day life. Ken holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Management from Stephen F. Austin State University. He lives in Houston with his wife, Susan, and is a proud father of five children. Best Night’s Sleep: As an aficionado of alliteration, Ken’s sleep time routine includes thinking up mattress-related tongue twisters like “Matt’s magnificent mattress makes mornings marvelous,” until he drifts off to a peaceful night’s sleep.