We spend a lot of time focusing on ways to get stronger, faster, and becoming overall better athletes, which often pertains mostly to improving performance in the gym and nutrition. Another key piece of the puzzle (one I would argue most of us don’t take seriously enough) is recovery. When I say recovery I mean things like mobility work/self-myofascial release, actual planned rest days where you don’t come into the gym, massage, rolfing, chiropractic work, just to name a few. Another vital component of recovery is sleep. This is one area I personally suck at when it comes to recovery. I never sleep enough during the week and then try to make up for the loss on the weekend. I know many of you have extremely busy lives and I’m sure sleep often times gets put on the back burner as a priority, but it is something I think we should all take more seriously.
Some recent studies conducted in Sweden and the University of California, San Francisco found sleep loss can be related to neural damage and diminished brain tissue volume. Now, this is something I’m sure none of us wants and emphasizes the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. There was also another study conducted (this was on mice so take it for what you will) at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and China’s Peking University, indicating irreversible damage to the brain may be caused by insufficient sleep. So, if you are like me and try to catch-up on sleep on the weekend, we would likely be better off making an effort to get to bed earlier throughout the week.
If you know you are in this category and don’t sleep enough, I challenge you to start making an effort to remedy the situation. I’m right there with you and will be making more of an effort myself. Best of luck and sweet dreams!
“Why You Should Probably Go to Bed Right Now.” Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2014. http://www.psychologytoday.com/em/153162