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Sleep is an Important Ingredient in Training for a Marathon

Sleep is an Important Ingredient in Training for a Marathon

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We all realize that sleep plays a crucial role in helping you feel good on a daily basis. It is an important part of recovery each day. Training puts a demand on your muscles and tissues. During sleep, your body repairs itself.

Most adults need at least 7-9 hours a sleep at night. A scientific study confirmed, though, that athletes have different needs to perform at their best.

The study, performed on an adult basketball team, found that by increasing each player’s sleep by 2 hours, the players increased their speed by 5% and their accuracy 9%. They also noted faster reaction times and reflexes.

Not only is increased sleep important but quality, undisturbed sleep matters.

Studies found that subjects awakened after sleeping only a few minutes are unable to recall the last few minutes before they fell asleep. In contrast, those that are allowed to experience a longer period of the stage of sleep called REM are able to remember a skill taught before sleeping whereas people deprived of REM sleep could not recall it. Staying in the REM stage helps people improve their decision-making skills. It should help your brain better consolidate the memories linked to motor skills and body movements to boost your coordination.

So, how does a person get more of this important activity and experience a quality sleep to become faster, energized to get more physical, mentally alert- all while increasing good moods and coordination?

  • Have a bedtime schedule. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, even on the weekend, will make it easier to fall asleep and wake up each morning.
  • Have a bedtime routine. Do the same things each night to help your body unwind. Some people believe watching television or playing on your smartphone will help you fall asleep. Not true. The “blue light” from your television and smartphone distracts your brain from calming itself. Instead, take a warm bath, read a book, listen to relaxing music or do a calming yoga pose to calm yourself for a good night’s sleep.
  • Have a comfortable place to sleep. Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool and quiet so you can sleep soundly. If noises keep you up, consider a fan or “white noise” to block out distractions.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise can help you sleep better by making you tired. The more tired you are at the end of the day, theoretically, the better you will sleep. Vigorous exercise for 20 minutes or more increases your temperature above normal. When it falls, several hours later, studies show this drop triggers the body to sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol close to bedtime. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it actually disrupts sleep patterns and causes a restless night’s sleep by disrupting REM cycles.
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