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Sleep for Improved Performance

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

We all have heard the importance of sleep. But if you are in college and an endurance athlete, it is hard to catch those Z’s. Homework piles up, you have a test to study for, and sleep tends to become less critical. Even though rest is hard in college, it is crucial for improved performance.


A recent study done by the American College of Sports Medicine (2011) showed how sleep deprivation can hurt performance and reduce the amount of muscle glycogen in the cells post-workout. Muscle glycogen is how we store energy for our bodies to use. If we run out of that, our body goes on reserve power, and fatigue can come on a lot faster. In this study, endurance athletes were put into groups, half were sleep-deprived, and the other half had an adequate sleep (Skein, Duffield, Edge, Short, & Mundel, 2011). The sleep-deprived athletes ended up fatiguing a lot faster, and their glycogen stores were depleted a lot quicker during the training session (Skein, Duffield, Edge, Short, & Mundel, 2011). If you are a sprinter, long-distance runner, or another type of endurance athlete, getting those Zs will have a drastic improvement in overall performance.

Here are some helpful tips for getting more sleep:

• No caffeine after 3pm.

• Do not sleep next to your phone or put a blue light filter on your phone.

• Plan out your day in a calendar

• Take an hour after before to relax

If you are an endurance athlete, what do you do to help yourself get the appropriate amount of sleep before a competition?


Reference:

Skein, M., Duffield, R., Edge, J., Short, M.J., & Mundel, T. (2011) Intermittent-Sprint performance and muscle glycogen after 30 h of sleep deprivation. American College of Sports Medicine. 43 (7), 1301-1311.

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