Our sleep patterns revolve around the natural cycle of light and dark. When the sun rises, our cortisol levels rise as well which helps activate the body and prepares it for whatever the day will bring. As the sun goes down, presumably our cortisol levels decrease which allows the release of melatonin and growth and repair hormones. In deep sleep blood supply to the muscles increase, tissue growth and repair occurs and energy is restored. Physical repair occurs between the hours of 10pm-2am and psychological repair occurs between 2am-6am.
However in todays world of TV’s, computers, lights and working late often times your cortisol levels stay elevated into the evening which impacts amount of time your body has for physical repair.
In studies done on athletes there is a cause and effect relationship between sleep, memory and performance.
The bottom line is that sleep should be considered an important part of your training program. It should go hand in hand with physical activity to allow your body and mind to recover in-between your workouts.
Pointers for a good nights sleep:
Avoid stimulants (caffeine in particular) after 12pm.
Minimize your exposure to light two hours before going to bed (lights and TV/computer/phone screens) and sleep in a dark room.
Exercise during the day.
Get to bed at a similar time each evening, preferably before 10:30pm.
By Christine Chisholm B.Sc.(H. Kin.), PTS
Mike Bracko. Faster, Higher, Stronger. Canfitpro the Official Magazine, Jan/Feb 2017.
Paul Chek. How to Eat Move and Be Healthy. SanDiego, CA, 2004.