Cycling World Magazine July 2017 - Page 39

July 2017| 39 Training and Nutrition The importance of sleep to improve performance By Health & Fitness expert James Crossley, who is working on his ‘Fit at Forty’ Campaign. For more information, check out @MrJamesCrossley on Twitter or Instagram or visit www.MrJamesCrossley.com. T raining places stress and overload on nearly all of our body’s systems, including the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, cardiorespiratory and nervous systems. Everytime we train, we’re telling our body it needs to adapt to these new demands; it will only do so if it’s able to recover. Sleep is often overlooked in the world of endurance sports, with athletes often shortening their sleep so they are able to complete early morning or two-daily training sessions. The problem is that sleep is an essential part of the recovery process and is incredibly important when it comes to maximising your performance. How much sleep someone needs depends not only on the amount of training being undertaken, but also the demands on life outside of training. On average, most adults require around six to eight hours of sleep per night but we often fall short of this target. Athletes looking to optimise their performance may look for as much as ten hours of quality sleep daily, totalled from both night time and daily power naps. How sleep can help your cycling performance Physical Performance – Your sympathetic (stimulatory) nervous system will be in a better state of readiness following a good night’s sleep, giving you the chance to train at a higher intensity. A lack of sleep will also elevate your cortisol levels, your body’s natural stress hormone, which will in turn lessen your overall response to training. Mental Performance – If you’re tired, this added fatigue will lessen your mental focus along with your motivation and mood. If you sleep well, you’re more likely to bring your A-game when the session gets tough. You will also find your concentration will improve, which could lessen the risk of making bad decisions out on the road or trail. Reducing injuries and illness – A lack of sleep is proven to put you at a greater risk of getting ill and injured. If you’re not allowing your body time to heal and repair, as it does so efficiently when you sleep, you ll certainly be working in a less-than-optimal state. This has been shown to supress your immune system and lessens your ability to adapt to training. There is nothing more frustrating than experiencing poor- quality sleep or simply not being able to sleep. Here are a few tips to help: . Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. epending on your sensitivity, caffeine may stop you getting to sleep and whilst alcohol may initially make you feel tired, it is scientifically proven to disturb your natural sleep patterns resulting in a night of l \\]X[]H\ ]YYK[Y[Z][ܙY[YܙHY YHY[[H\^Hو[\X\ۙ\\[X]˜XX[H[][]\[\H^H]ZH[H[YH^B\H[H\[ٙ[\[XۚX]X\[ۙ][\]X\ HZ[]\YܙH[YܙX]BH[H\[[\ۛY[[[\YK][[Y[\YH\]\YYH[\˂ˈ\ZH[[^[X]]Y\YܙH[HY [\B[][[HHH[[^H]\\[\[وXYۙ\][HX\Y[ݙ[ZYY\ ]ZY]HZ[ ]HHXH[\Yܚ]Hۂ[][[HY[H[Y[X\܈X^H[[ܜˈHH\\H^H[ܚ]\H[K\\˜H\HZ[YܙH[[\Y\ \\[HHZ[ HYHYYY]][ۈ܈YHX\YX]XX][™^\\\˂Y\[\YHY\[\[][\H›]\[\YX[]K\H[\\]\\]\[BXZ\[ H[۝[YHX[HYB\HوH^KXX[Z\\\[ [KHYH[[\Y\XZ[Z[\]\[]\Z[[Z\[H\وH\ܝ\YY8&\Y\ \[\Z[[Y\[K؈[[Z[H[Z]Y[˜[HXܜ]XY[[]YX[8&\[Z]Y܈܂Y\ YHو\HXܜ\H\\۝[\ˈ]8&\X][H][H\XX]HH\قY\ \XX[HY[H]HHYXHZ[\܂[\H[]H\H[\Z[[˂][\ۈ\\[HYXHY[H]H\BYZ^\]]\[Z]Y[]YZ[ˈX][\[H[ Y\\YYKZ[܈[^HY\ۂ\\[۸&]Y[Z[HX]]BY]X[\