Busy schedule, young children, 5:15 am workouts before work…any combination of these and it’s a safe bet you are not averaging 8 hours of sleep a night. Perhaps, not even seven, or six, or… Chances are this is having a dramatic effect on your physical performance and even your appearance (body composition). A number of well regarded studies have proven this out. Details are below as well as links to an excellent blog post on the topic.
Stanford Sleep Researcher, Cheri Mah has conducted a number of studies over the last three years comparing collegiate swimmers, basketball players, and tennis players performance with their standard sleep cycles and with extra sleep (with a 10 hour per day goal). The results were dramatic. How dramatic? Sprinting speed improved by 8%-9% and accuracy improved by 18%-20% (as measured by tennis serves and three-pointers). According to Mah:
“While most athletes and coaching staff may believe that sleep is an important contributing factor in sports, many do not realize that optimal or peak performance can only occur when an athlete’s sleep and sleep habits are optimal.”
Melissa Urban of Whole 9 training calls out not just those trying to improve their performance but also those looking to get lean.
I’m not just talking about sleep affecting your recovery from training, or reducing your stress… no, I’m pulling out the big guns. While diet plays a crucial role in body composition, sleep also plays a significant role… specifically, in fat loss.
Urban goes on to propose that getting sufficient sleep (8 hours or more) is more important to your overall health than exercise.
Following links reference Ms.Mah’s publications:
Melissa Urban’s post on sleep: