Sleep improves athletic performance!

New Year's resolutions: One in three Germans has set themselves the goal for 2021 to do more sport. Our sporting performance is closely linked to our sleeping behavior. Here we will show you why sleep is so important for athletes and how you can optimally combine your sporting activity and your sleeping behavior to easily achieve your goals in 2021.

Table of Contents

      1. Why is sport so important for us?
      2. No performance without regeneration
      3. Better performance through more sleep
      4. Poor performance due to little sleep
      5. The right balance is crucial
      6. Conclusion

      1. Why is sport so important for us?

      Our bodies are programmed for a life of movement. Without exercise, our skeleton, muscles and internal organs cannot adequately supply themselves with oxygen and nutrients. During sport, our muscles and our brain work at full speed.

      › Effects of muscle activation
      • Energy production is increased, making energy reserves available.
      • The hormonal system sends messenger substances into the body that 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 and lungs are “trained” and continually adapt to the training. More blood is pumped through the body and all cells are supplied with sufficient oxygen.
      • Educated adrenaline increases the performance of the heart, while cortisol serves to provide energy during training.
      • More growth factors and serotonin (happiness hormones) are released in the brain. The growth factors promote nerve growth, strengthen our memory and promote the performance of our brain.

      During the course of training, numerous adjustments occur in the very organs that provide, absorb and transport oxygen and nutrients. Because it's good for you and keeps us healthy, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends moderate endurance training for at least 2.5 hours per week. The whole thing should be supplemented by moderate strength training to strengthen the muscles. This increases our general performance - physically and mentally!

      Important: Regularity! The body adapts to the regular stress during a training session. Blood circulation improves, muscle mass is built up, energy stores in the muscles increase and performance increases in the long term. Thanks to its numerous positive effects, engaging in regular physical activity is a sensible New Year's resolution.

      2. No performance without regeneration

      Leistungskurve der sportlichen Leistung im Tagesverlauf

      Our physical performance does not improve directly during the training session (only the impulses are provided here), but especially after training in the regeneration phase. In the period after training, the body should therefore be provided with sufficient nutrients so that it can regenerate optimally and respond to the impulses set. Sleep plays a central role here. It is the most important regeneration phase for our body, in which, among other things, growth hormones are released and the energy stores in the muscles and brain are filled.

      3. Better performance through more sleep

      Good sleep can improve sports performance! Athletes who sleep more at night and reduce their sleep deficit are more productive and have a better mood, according to a recent study by sleep researchers at Stanford University in California. The US scientists examined athletes from the tennis team at Stanford University between the ages of 18 and 21. In the first three weeks, the test subjects maintained their usual daily rhythm. Over the next six weeks, they increased their sleep time to 10 hours per night. The result: In the sprint test, the well-rested athletes improved by an average of 10% and the success rate of serves in the field increased by approx. 20%. But it wasn't just their athletic performance that improved - the researchers also found that the test subjects' daytime sleepiness decreased and their mood significantly improved. These results have also been confirmed by follow-up studies in other sports (swimming, athletics, basketball, etc.) confirmed.

      Guter Schlaf verbessert die sportliche Leistung

      Positive effects of sleep on athletic performance

      5 – 10%
      Better performance in the sprint
      20% Sfaster execution of motor movements (with the same accuracy)
      42% Higher accuracy
      10% Better hit rate

          Sufficient sleep has numerous positive effects on performance in sports. If you approach sport with ambition and the desire to improve your performance, you should definitely pay attention to healthy sleeping habits.

          4. Poor performance due to little sleep

          If you get a lot of restful sleep, you can improve your performance - but what happens if we don't sleep enough? Short-term or long-term lack of sleep has a major impact on our physical and mental state and can stand in the way of our progress and sporting success.

          Negative effects of lack of sleep on athletic performance

          10 – 15%
          Less testosterone with less than 5 hours of sleep
          5 – 40% Wless stamina with temporary sleep deprivation
          3 x Higher susceptibility to illnesses
          65% Increased risk of injury

          5. The right balance is crucial

          As is so often the case, the right combination is crucial to success. Sport and sleep therefore have a healthy relationship: sleep promotes regeneration and athletic performance, while regular sport in return improves the quality of sleep and the ability to fall asleep (here find out more). “A good combination of sleep, exercise 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.

          Regardless of whether you are a professional or amateur athlete, anyone who wants to improve in the long term should pay close attention to their own sleeping habits and give the body enough time to regenerate and adapt to the stress. This not only increases your performance and health, but also puts you in a better mood! :)

          6. Conclusion

          • Regular exercise is essential and has numerous positive effects for the health of the body and mind.
          • Performance only improves during regeneration after training. The central recovery phase and therefore of great importance is sleep.
          • With more sleep, athletes improve their skills and performance, are less tired and are in 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.b 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.

          Greetings and see you soon!


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