Sunday, 10 February 2013
The sleep science
There is one activity which unites us, regardless of our training regime, our carb intakes, our body weight, or our goals. That activity is sleep. We all do it, at one time or another, and we all need it. And most people underestimate the amount that they need it. A good night’s sleep is the ultimate recovery technique, before protein shakes, coffee, or even that sneaky chocolate bar you allow yourself every so often. Don’t underestimate its efficacy.
The benefit of a good night’s sleep is inarguable. If you are training hard, you need a solid eight hours at least in order to ensure recovery and muscle growth. Studies have shown that top level athletes need a good 10 hours straight in order to perform well on a regular basis. You might not be a professional athlete, but an eight hour kip could make the difference between muscle gain, and fat gain. The less you sleep, the more you stress, the more you stress, the more weight you gain. Not only that, but studies have shown that every hour of sleep you miss translates to an extra 200 calories consumed throughout the day. On top of which you have to contend with the performance reducing effects of sleep deprivation, the poor motor skills, concentration and endurance.
I can almost hear the sound of many of you grumbling that you don’t have the time to sleep. Now stop and be honest with yourself, do you really not have time, or do you just not allow yourself time? Maybe instead of staying up for an extra hour to watch TV to ‘relax’ you should just put your head down and take a shot at sleeping, you might surprise yourself. There is no excuse, sleeping is the one rest activity that you should always make time for. Do it and you’ll find your diet, your strength, and your gains will all improve. A few more hours sleep tonight, could mean a few inches off your waistline.