SLEEP AND RECOVERY
Athletes spend a lot of time training, but often neglect the most important part of their development process: recovery.
Training puts stress on the body. Some stress is essential as without it, we wouldn’t get stronger, leaner or faster. However, some athletes (and even coaches) believe that to improve they need to train hard, and then harder.
It’s a common misconception that puts an athlete’s performance and health at risk – and is a sure way to develop chronic illness and injury.
Get stronger while you sleep
Athletes don’t get stronger in the gym, on the bike or while running. Athletes become stronger and fitter from the adaptations that take place during rest and recovery.
And while massage and stretching have their place, sleep is the most important time to recover and should be a priority, whether you are a performance athlete, or just exercising to stay well. Sleep recharges your nervous system and replenishes your energy. It is during sleep that the body and brain recover and muscles are rebuilt and restored.
Quality over quantity
There is growing scientific evidence that seven to nine hours of sleep a night is crucial – even more for teens and young adults. However, the quality of sleep matters most.
Sleep like a pro
Tennis champion Roger Federer sleeps twelve hours a day, as does basketball legend LeBron James. Usain Bolt, the famous sprinter, sleeps ten hours a night and naps regularly during the day.
These top athletes recognize that sleep is crucial to performance. Matthew Walker, neuroscientist and author of the book Why We Sleep noted that: “Sleep is probably the greatest legal performance-enhancing drug that few athletes are abusing enough.”
Bottom line: sleep should be your top recovery priority. Train hard, sleep harder.