How Sleep Makes You Strong
How Sleep Makes You Strong
We all know a restless night’s sleep can make you feel exhausted, irritable and kill any motivation to want to exercise. Research even shows not getting enough good-quality sleep is just as dangerous as being drunk or high on drugs, but did you know being sleep-deprived can also impact your physical strength?
In fact, lack of sleep has such a negative effect on athletic performance and strength that even professional sports teams are hiring full-time sleep coaches to ensure athletes and sportspersons reach their full potential and that their speed, accuracy and strength aren’t compromised due to lack of sleep.
By now you might be thinking, “I’m not an athlete, this doesn’t matter to me”, so keep reading to find out why sleep is so important to your strength, even if you’re just the average gym goer.
NBA’s Lebron James’ success is sleep
LeBron James is one of the biggest names in professional Basketball. With a $55 million dollar a year contract, it probably comes as no surprise that LeBron spends over a $1.5 million dollars each year on keeping his body in peak condition (Young, 2021). At 36 years old and after playing for over 18 years, some say his athleticism in basketball is unparalleled and while most of us don’t have 1.5 million bucks to spare, Lebron has one secret performance enhancer that everyone can use: SLEEP!
“I don’t get tired. I don’t feel tired. I get my sleep; I get my rest,” said LeBron. In late 2018, Lebron and his trainer, Mike Mancias, spoke on a podcast called The Tim Ferris Show (https://tim.blog/2018/11/27/lebron-james-mike-mancias/) to talk about James’ lifestyle, habits, and more. Mancias said that a key to James’ longevity is his “never-ending” recovery and that sleep is a crucial component.
While the glamour, glitz, travel and gruelling training sessions of the USA’s most famous basketballer seem too far removed to the average Aussie, we do have some lessons to learn.
Keep reading below to discover just why sleep is so vital to your strength and why sleep can be considered as the most powerful performance enhancer in the world.
Why do we need enough sleep?
Each night, the average adult requires 7 to 9 hours of sleep. But, truth is many of us are getting way less than we need.
Benefits of sleep include overall health and peak athletic performance; lack of sleep impairs the generation of growth hormones that are critical to your muscle repair and recovery. Even though you would anticipate your muscles to feel tired after a solid workout, you may find that they are still tense or sore in the morning, especially if you haven’t had enough sleep.
Sleep makes strong
Your fitness and strength require a well-balanced diet and regular training, as you surely already know. Sleep, on the other hand, is a third important aspect that many people ignore. If you don’t get enough nightly sleep, chances are your diet and exercise will suffer (Vitale et al., 2019).
Getting adequate, good quality sleep has various advantages. First, your body receives the time it needs to repair itself when you sleep (Krueger et al., 2016). Second, this replenishment provides you with the energy you require for the next day. Finally, sleep
is essential for muscle development, healing, and sickness prevention. The importance of sleep for athletes – or even anyone working on increasing their strength, cannot be overstated.
How sleep builds muscles
Important muscle-building growth hormone is secreted during sleep. Deep sleep, also known as stage 3 of non-REM sleep, is when this hormone is produced most frequently. As you sleep, your muscles relax, which relieves tension in your muscles, reducing any tenderness you may have (van Cauter & Plat, 1996).
You produce microscopic tears in your muscles when you practice strength-training workouts like weight lifting. However, during sleep, these cells and tissues are healed, making your muscles stronger. And amazingly, sleep can also increase the size of your muscles!
Sleep and muscle memory
Sleep is vital for learning a play on the basketball court or dance choreography for the stage since it helps solidify memory. Sleep can also improve your sporting skills in various ways:
Improved Accuracy: In a study of university tennis players by Schwarts and Simon Jr (2015), athletes who slept for at least nine hours each day improved their accuracy dramatically, from 35.7 per cent to 41.8 per cent.
React faster, move faster: Male and female university swimmers who extended their sleep to 10 hours per night observed improvements in reaction times and speeds. They increased their turn timings and leapt off the block faster. In addition, the athletes’ 15-meter swim times also improved.
Sleep as a performance enhancer: In research from Mah et al. (2011) many areas of development were discovered by University men’s basketball players who slept 10 hours per night during the season. Their sprints on half-court and full-court were faster. Their percentages of free throws climbed by at least 9%. Overall mental and physical health improved, as did sleepiness and weariness.
A lack of sleep has been demonstrated to have harmful effects on athletes in several studies. For example, without proper sleep, both volleyball players and runners have exhibited higher tiredness (Azboy & Kaygisiz, 2009). After only 5 hours of sleep, the accuracy of tennis serves drops by 13%. Runners’ sprint timings also decline after a night of no sleep (Skein et al., 2011).
Sleep strengthens body systems
Good sleep not only helps with your muscular strength but is also restorative to many other body systems.
Vascular:Your body shields you from the long-term effects of cardiovascular disease and stroke when you sleep. Sleep is the only time when your heart and blood vessels can mend themselves. Those who sleep for less than six hours a night have a significantly increased heart attack or stroke risk.
Metabolism: Your body uses the time you spend sleeping to re-regulate your hormones, particularly the ones that influence hunger. As a result, you will feel less hungry and satisfied more quickly. Sleep also restores a healthy metabolism, allowing you to use the calories you do ingest more efficiently and gain less weight overall.
Skeletal: Restorative sleep can help you avoid the aches and pains of arthritis. Sleeping longer reduces the incidence of osteoarthritis, and even chronic inflammatory arthritis sufferers notice a reduction in symptoms when they get more sleep.
Sleep makes you mentally stronger
One of the most important of all sleep advantages is its ability to restore your mental capacity. Your brain creates new pathways to perform more efficiently as you sleep, and memories are arranged neatly for subsequent recollection. As a result, you’ll have a faster reaction time, greater decision-making abilities, less stress, and more confidence throughout the day. This could explain why athletes who get close to 10 hours of sleep daily are more likely to overcome hurdles and achieve their goals.
Replenishing sleep provides you with the energy you require for the next day. In addition, you can build memories and process information during the stages of sleep (Healthy Sleep, n.d.).
How sleep strengthens your immune system
Your immune system is strengthened and healed while you sleep, assisting you in fighting common illnesses and safeguarding you from disease. Those who sleep less than seven hours every night, on the other hand, have more sick days and are more susceptible to severe illness and disability (Suni, 2020).
Your body creates cytokines, chemicals that aid the immune system in fighting infections while you sleep. As a result, sleep can actually help you heal if you’re already sick.
Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, boosts the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These substances harm the immune system’s function, meaning you’re more likely to get sick due to this.
Sleep deprivation can also reduce the effectiveness of preventative health treatments like vaccines. For example, if you’re sleep deprived when vaccinated, you will produce fewer antibodies than well-rested people.
Sleeping tips to help build your strength
Now that we have discussed how sleep can make you stronger, we’ve put together a list of common sleep tips that can help you get a better night’s sleep.
Reduce your caffeine intake: Try limiting your coffee, tea, or other caffeinated beverages like colas to two a day, preferably before lunchtime.
Don’t go to bed on a full stomach: If possible, allow at least 2 hours after dinner before going to bed.
Limit your alcohol: Although alcohol can have a sedative effect and helps you fall asleep, it often leads to mid-night waking and disrupted sleep.
Follow a routine: Following a bedtime routine can help build a habit that signals to your brain and body you are about to go to bed.
Keep off your phone: The blue light emitted from your phone and other electronic devices can impair the body’s own natural nighttime sleep response. You can read more about how screen time can impact your sleep.
Keep a cool sleeping environment: Where you can, try to stabilise the temperature in your bedroom to 18 degrees and wear loose-fitting clothing. If that’s still not helpful, it might be time to investigate SleepMaker beds with Kulkote. Kulkote is actually a temperature regulating technology designed in the USA for astronaut spacesuits. You can read more about Kulkote here.
Find your perfect bed: Finding the right bed to match your own needs can help improve your quality of sleep. For example, SleepMaker’s Miracoil range of beds have been designed to offer Head-to-toe support that helps to achieve good spinal alignment and more support where it’s needed most, making it an ideal choice for post-workout recovery sleep.
Get a better night’s sleep with SleepMaker
As we now know, there are some powerful, strength-enhancing benefits of regular restorative sleep.
Sometimes, getting more sleep is easily achieved with a new mattress. SleepMaker has developed a wide range of advanced technologies to create excellent mattresses in Australia to ensure the most comfortable and supportive sleep possible. Why not take our Sleep Selector Quiz to find the best mattress for you, or check out our list of retailers to find a store close to you.
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2. Healthy Sleep. (n.d.). Medline Plus. Retrieved October 11, 2021, from https://medlineplus.gov/healthysleep.html
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4. Mah, C. D., Mah, K. E., Keririan, E. J., & Dement, W. C. (2011). The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players. Sleep, 34(7), 943–950. https://doi.org/10.5665/SLEEP.1132.
5. Schwarts, J., & Simon Jr, R. D. (2015). Sleep extension improves serving accuracy: A study with college varsity tennis players. Physiol Behav., 151, 541–544. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.08.035.
6. Skein, M., Duffield, R., Edge, J., Short, M. J., & Mundel, T. (2011). Intermittent-sprint performance and muscle glycogen after 30 h of sleep deprivation. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 7(43), 1301–1311. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e31820abc5a.
7. Statt, N. (2012, October 24). Mental Fatigue Impairs Brain Function, Motivation in Drug-Addicted Individuals. Brookhaven National Laboratory. https://www.bnl.gov/newsroom/news.php?a=111465
8. Suni, E. (2020, November 19). How Sleep Affects Immunity. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoun
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11. Young, S. (2021, February 14). “It’s a Very Big Issue”: Inside the NBA’s Sleeping Problem. Medium. https://medium.com/basketball-university/inside-the-nbas-sleeping-problem-cb5d34968b5f