New Year's resolutions: One in three Germans have set themselves the goal of doing more sport in 2021. Our athletic performance is strongly related to our sleep patterns. So why sleep is so important for athletes and how you can optimally combine your sporting activity and your sleeping patterns to easily achieve your goals in 2021, we show you here.
Table of contents
- Why is sport so important for us?
- No performance without regeneration
- Better performance through more sleep
- Poorer performance through less sleep
- The right balance is decisive
Why is sport so important for us?
Our body is programmed for a life with movement. Without exercise, our skeleton, muscles and internal organs cannot supply themselves with sufficient oxygen and nutrients. During exercise, our muscles work at full speed, as does our brain.
Effects of muscle activation
- ' Energy production is ramped up, making energy reserves available.
- The hormonal system sends messenger substances into the body, which ensure that the supply systems necessary for muscle contraction, such as cardiac output and blood flow, are activated.
- Our cardiovascular system is activated. The heart & lungs are "trained" and continually adapt to the workout. More blood is pumped through the body and all cells are supplied with sufficient oxygen.
- Produced adrenaline increases the performance of the heart, cortisol serves in the course of the training to provide energy.
- Growth factors and serotonin (happiness hormones) are increasingly released in the brain. The growth factors promote nerve growth, strengthen our memory and promote the performance of our brain.
In the course of training, numerous adaptations take place in the very organs that provide, absorb and transport oxygen and nutrients. Because this does us good and keeps us healthy, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends moderate endurance training for at least 2.5 hours per week. This should be supplemented by moderate strength training to strengthen the muscles. In this way we increase our general performance - both physically and mentally!
Important: Regularity! The body adapts to the regular loads during a training session. Blood circulation improves, muscle mass is built up, energy stores in the muscles increase and performance improves in the long term. Thanks to the numerous positive effects, regular exercise is a sensible New Year's resolution.
No performance without regeneration
Our physical performance does not improve directly during the training session (here only the impulses are set), but mainly after the training in the regeneration phase. In the time after training, the body should therefore be provided with sufficient nutrients so that it can regenerate optimally and react to the impulses that have been set. Sleep plays a central role here. It is the most important regeneration phase for our body, during which, among other things, growth hormones are released and the energy stores in the muscles and brain are filled.
Better performance through more sleep
Good sleep can improve sports performance! Athletes who sleep more at night and reduce their sleep deficit are more efficient and have a better mood, according to the results of a recent study by sleep researchers at Stanford University in California. The US scientists studied athletes from the Stanford University tennis team aged between 18 and 21. For the first three weeks, the subjects maintained their usual daily rhythm. In the following six weeks, they increased their sleep time to 10 hours per night. The result: In the sprint test, the well-rested athletes improved their performance by an average of 10% and the success rate of their serves in the field increased by about 20%. But it wasn't just athletic performance that improved - the researchers also found that the subjects' daytime fatigue decreased and their mood improved significantly. Follow-up studies have confirmed these results in other sports (swimming, track and field, basketball, etc.).
Positive effects of sleep on athletic performance
|5 – 10 %||
Better performance in sprinting
|20 %||Sfaster execution of motor movements (with the same accuracy)|
|42 %||Higher accuracy|
|10 %||Better hit rate|
So getting enough sleep has numerous positive effects on performance in sports. If you approach sport with ambition and a desire to improve your performance, it's essential to ensure you're getting a healthy night's sleep.
Poorer performance due to little sleep
Getting plenty of restful sleep can improve performance - but what happens when we don't sleep enough? Short or long-term sleep deprivation has a major impact on our physical and mental state and can get in the way of our progress and athletic success.
Negative effects of sleep deprivation on athletic performance
|10 – 15 %||
Less testosterone with less than 5 hours sleep
|5 – 40 %||Wender endurance with temporary sleep deprivation|
|3 x||Higher susceptibility to disease|
|65 %||Increased risk of injury|
The right balance is decisive
As is so often the case, the right combination is decisive for success. Sport and sleep therefore have a healthy interrelationship: sleep promotes regeneration and athletic performance, while regular sport in return improves sleep quality and the ability to fall asleep( learn morehere ). "A good interplay between sleep, sport and a healthy diet are not only the central building blocks for physical performance, but also for health and well-being," says our sleep expert Dr. Markus Dworak.
Whether you are a professional or amateur athlete, if you want to improve your performance in the long term, you should pay close attention to your sleep patterns and give your body enough time to regenerate and adapt to stress. This not only improves your own performance and health, but also puts you in a better mood! :)
Regular exercise is essential and brings numerous positive effects for the health of body and mind.
The performance improves only in the regeneration after the training. The central recovery phase and therefore of great importance is sleep.
With more sleep, athletes improve their abilities and performance, are less tired and have a better mood.
Positive effects of sleep include improvements in speed, endurance, motor skills and coordination.
Lack of sleep counteracts the development of athletic performance, e.g. by reducing endurance and increasing the risk of illness and injury.
Sport and sleep have a special interaction, so the right balance of training and sleep is crucial for performance.
Best regards and see you soon!