Are our olympians super sleepers?
With the medal tally steadily rising from our sensational athletes at this year's Olympic Games, not only are we in total awe of their abilities, but we also question just how they do it?!
Just how are the members of the British team consistently delivering such amazing performances? Years of dedication, determination, willpower, plenty of sweat, and no doubt some tears, but we predict that they must be super sleepers too.
Why do we think this?
- 1A study in the journal SLEEP confirms the role of sleep in performance, with results that show declines in split-second decision making following poor sleep. Results also showed increased accuracy in well-rested subjects.
- 1Some research also suggests that sleep deprivation increases levels of stress hormone, cortisol. Sleep deprivation has also been seen to decrease production of glycogen and carbohydrates that are stored for energy use during physical activity. In short, less sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy, and poor focus at competition time. It may also slow recovery post-competition.
- 2High quality of sleep and adequate rest periods have an important contribution in an athlete’s ability to respond to stress. During a competition two abilities are critical for athletic success – attention and memory, which are very sensitive to stress and regulated by sleep.
- 2Sleep characteristics influences both precompetitive stress and competitive achievements, with negative consequences when curtailed.
So, whether you’re already a top athlete, or you’re just beginning your journey to the top of your sport, getting plenty of restorative sleep is essential.
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1Source: National Sleep Foundation
2Source: Sleep Medicine