The major benefit of sleep is rest and recovery from strenuous physical exercises. Latest research on sleep has reported athletes who sleep for longer hours, up to 10 hours a day, have increased performance levels.
Science of Sleep and Athletic Performance
Scientist from Stanford university, studied players in university football team. “Over three seasons, from 2005 to 2008, the scientists looked at 11 Stanford basketball players. For two to four weeks, the Cardinal kept to their normal schedules. Then for five to seven weeks, they watched what they drank, took daytime naps and tried to sleep for 10 hours every night. After increasing their daily rest, the players sprinted faster and said they felt better in practices and games. Their aim got better too: Their three-point shooting jumped 9.2 percentage points, and their free throw percentage increased by nine points.”
What’s behind the results? “sleeping for long stretches is naturally anabolic: During deep sleep, our bodies release growth hormone, which stimulates the healing and growth of muscle and bone.” Source ESPN sports.
Sleeping Tips For Active Runners.
Now that you know a good night sleep is good for your running, here is a list of tips to help you sleep for longer hours.
1. Take a good look at your bedroom. Is it conducive to sleep? Make sure your room is as close to total darkness as possible. Close your curtains and make use of a towel, if you must, to shield any incoming light from streetlamps. Also, put a towel over your alarm clock – just make certain you can hear it in the morning.
2. When sleeping in a hotel, before they give you your room assignment, specifically ask for a “quite room”. If the highway or airport is on one side of the hotel, mention that and ask for a room on the other side of the building
3. Eat a balanced diet. This will help your overall health as well as improve your sleep.
4. Be sure that you have a comfortable bed. Make sure your mattress adequately supports your spine. Your pillows should be replaced every 2 to 3 years.
5. You shouldn’t spend time in your bed snacking, reading or watching TV. The only two activities that should be carried out while you are in bed are having sex and sleeping. You need to train yourself so that when you finally crawl into bed at night, you will go to sleep.
6. Try not to watch the news just before retiring for the night. Instead, try watching a sitcom or lighthearted movie. Most news is bad these days and it may trouble your mind.
7. Another one of those sleeping tips to help you fall asleep almost on command is to establish a bedtime routine. Make sure to stick to it so you’ll become acclimated and your body will know that this is what we do to get ready for sleep.
8. Don’t drink alcohol before turning in for the night. It can be stimulating and make it difficult to go to sleep.
10. Avoid nicotine and caffeine; these products are both stimulants. You don’t want to be bouncing off the walls!
11. If you are all stressed out and cannot sleep, try writing everything down that has you bothered. Committing these thoughts to paper puts them in the open and helps remove them from your mind.
12. Fix your relationships. If you have a beef with anyone, spouse, friend, child or work mate, try to mend bridges. Some times we think everything is okey but when we take a look deep down in our hearts we realize we are carry grudges. That grudge is a form of repressed anger or hate that eat us from within. Forgiving the person will make our hearts lighter and our minds calmer.
13. Eat a turkey sandwich prior to getting into bed – the tryptophan in the turkey will make you sleepy.
14. If you take a nap during the day, it may sabotage your sleep at night. Resist the urge to nap if you have trouble sleeping at night.
15. Another great tip is to take a hot, relaxing bath. You can even combine it with some light meditation to calm your mind.
16. Did your grandmother ever tell you this one? Drink some warm milk and honey before bed.
17. If you just can’t seem to go to sleep, get up and try doing something for about one to two hours until you are physically exhausted. Just don’t choose an activity that will stimulate your mind and make you want to stay up longer.
18. Take a thorough medical check up to rule out any physical or mental illness. Some times when we can’t be able to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep the cause is undiagnosed illness that we are not aware of.
19. Get a massage. Have your spouse (or whoever) give you a massage just before going to sleep. If you can convince them to give you a full body massage, great. If not, even a short backrub and/or a face and scalp massage can be a big help. Have them make the massage strokes slow, gentle, yet firm, to work the tension out of your muscles and soothe you to sleep.
20. Play some soft, soothing music that will lull you to sleep. There are many CDs designed for that very purpose. Some are specially composed music, others simply have sounds of waves rhythmically breaking, or the steady pattern of a heartbeat. Some will lead you to sleep with a combination of music, voice and other soothing sounds. Download Free Relaxation Music Audio.
Have a good night of sleep and may you run the fastest race.