Why is sleep important for performance?


We have all heard it said, “I’ll Sleep when I am dead.”

No matter what your excuse is… busy job, kids, traveling, the need to finish a Netflix series… everyone has had onea at one time or another. Our constantly busy lifestyles leave us with very little time for recovery. And without adequate recovery, we are not going to be able to have our best performance in the gym.

Sleep helps rest your body, not just your mind.

Sleep gives you more than just rest; it recharges your nervous system and replenishes your energy stores, the deeper and better you sleep, the more energy you have for the next day. That’s important because if you don’t let your central nervous system (CNS) recuperate, you will see a negative response in muscle contractions, reaction time, and response to pain and you can start overloading your body on a larger scale. You’re going to become slower, weaker, maybe even less coordinated in your workouts.

Getting a good night’s sleep can ensure that you are endocrine system is getting enough time to work. Each night while you sleep your body produces hormones like testosterone that help to create muscle growth. If you go several days without sufficient rest you will have lower hormone levels and it will affect your muscle gain.

Without proper rest and recovery, you start losing muscle growth and your system stops recharging, so you feel tired, unmotivated, and weak in your workouts.

Pay attention to your rest days.

If you are addressing your nutrition you make sure to track your calories and macros, so why not keep track of the hours you are sleeping each night and your recovery days? Everyone is sure to track all of their weightlifting benchmarks, have you ever thought of also tracking your sleep and recovery?

Listen to your body

Pay attention to your body. Are your feet starting to get a little bit heavy? Are you having trouble lifting weight you know you should be able to move? Are your muscles seeming to stay sore longer? In some ways, the critical eye of a coach, a fellow athlete or even yourself can be your best indicator of fatigue. If you are feeling tired and lacking energy, maybe it’s a good sign to take a rest day.

Also, remember that different workouts have different recovery times. The recovery period needed after a 5k may look a lot different than the recovery that is needed after chasing down a new 1RM in the gym.

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Don’t be afraid of being tired.

While it is important to pay attention to our bodies and when they are telling us we need to rest and recover, that doesn’t mean we should never be tired. The only way to get stronger, faster and better is to challenge yourself. That means challenging yourself and becoming fatigued.

That is the great thing about CrossFit! Your coaches are there to create the programing for you and push you to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. This also means that they can recognize when you have days that you aren’t feeling great and a workout may crush you – that’s okay – it happens – they may just encourage you to make sure you are paying attention to recovery and taking adequate rest days.

Here are somethings that can help you with a good night Sleep …

  1. Avoid screen time at night – the light emitted by these devices tricks your body into thinking it is still daytime.
  2. Keep your bedroom cool – it is suggested to stay at a maximum of 69 degrees.
  3. Try to keep your last meal 1-2 hours before bed – eating too close to bedtime can cause your body to be in overdrive and focus on digestion.
  4. Drink a glass of milk, or casein – this can increase your melatonin levels and help you get to sleep.
  5. Get out of bed in the morning – as silly as it sounds, if you sleep in – it is harder to fall asleep. Stay on schedule, even on the weekends.
  6. Be consistent – we are creatures of habit, focus on getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night and you will find your body will start expecting it and your trouble falling asleep will dissipate.

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