Free Shipping & Free Returns w/ Device Purchase
sleep and athletic performance

Sleep is important for every human being, but it’s even more crucial for athletes. Whether you’re running a marathon or training heavy in the gym, a sufficient amount of sound sleep is necessary for proper recovery and growth. Sleep doesn’t only accelerate muscle recovery, it also helps athletes focus and deliver their best performance.

Sleep and Athletic Performance

Research shows that sleep influences an athlete’s performance. Recently, Stanford University conducted a study on their basketball team by adding an average of 2 hours of sleep every night. After a few months, the players increased their speed by around 5% and free throw accuracy by 9%. Also, they noticed a significant improvement in their mental health. Brain plasticity theories say sleep helps the brain form new connections based on that whole day’s waking experiences. Therefore, the more quality sleep you have, the more you will benefit from your training and hard work.

Importance of Sleep for Improving Athletic Performance

The importance of sleep for athletic performance cannot be overstated. Many people tend to take sleep for granted, despite the fact that as humans we spend almost one-third of our lives sleeping. Although our body is resting while we sleep, internal functions like growth, repair, and energy conservation take the lead to help us recover and regenerate.

sleep and athletic performance

Some significant benefits of sleep for athletic performance include:

How Does Lack of Sleep Affect Athletic Performance?

Lack of sleep affects athletic performance as much as an unhealthy diet or improper training. Sleep deprivation reduces the ability of an athlete to think clearly and make wise decisions. Additionally, it has been linked with depression and other medical conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, and stroke.

sleep and athletic performance

Here are some negative effects of sleep deprivation on athlete health:

While sleep loss affects hormones, it also decreases the cognitive functions and performance of athletes. World-class athletes like Usain Bolt, Roger Federer, and LeBron James said they need 10-12 hours sleep at night to perform at their highest level.

Essential Tips to Help Athletes Sleep Better

Getting a good night’s sleep should be a priority for any athlete who wants to succeed.  Many other factors like early morning practice, travel for away games, late-night meetings, and even the stress of competing can get in the way; but prioritization is key.  

sleep and athletic performance

Over the last few decades, sleep quantity and quality have both declined among Americans, which is considered one of the key reasons for health issues and performance detrition of athletes. So, make the most of your sleep by following these sleep hygiene tips and maximize your sleep quality:

Sleep can either increase or decrease your athletic performance. When you get quality sleep at night, you can perform better the next day. If not, you’ll likely struggle to meet your own standards. Therefore, quality sleep should be a part of every athlete’s preparation along with proper nutrition, physical training, and muscle recovery. To achieve the most effective and easy muscle recovery, many athletes use Marc Pro.

muscle tissue

When it comes to speeding recovery, not all techniques are as effective as you may think. While some strategies may lead to slight improvements in recovery, there are others that are proven to be extremely effective in getting you back to 100%, faster.

The way the human body recovers is a pretty simple process. Blood delivers essential nutrients and supplies to damaged tissue, the lymphatic system gets rid of waste, myokines are produced and released, and the repaired tissue is then remodeled. What most people don’t realize, is that the key facilitator driving each of these stages is muscle activation. Along with muscle activation, there are a few other key elements that will get you on the road to faster muscle recovery.

How to Recover Muscles Faster

1. Hydration

faster muscle recovery

Water is crucial for our body’s systems to function properly. After all, nearly 60% of our bodies are comprised of water! For those who work out, it’s even more important to ensure proper hydration to keep the body running as efficiently as possible. When our bodies are adequately hydrated, our muscles can work at their highest level, both while working out and while recovering.

Proper hydration is so important for ensuring essential supplies are delivered to damaged tissue. Blood is responsible for transporting all these necessary nutrients and is made up of about 80% water.

To begin the repair process, blood delivers essential supplies to damaged tissue. Since nearly 80% of our blood is comprised of water, dehydration makes this process less efficient. Proper hydration is vital for allowing fluids to move efficiently throughout the body. Water also helps remove toxins that build up during exercise. If that’s not enough, it’s been shown that dehydrated muscles delay the rebuilding phase and can cause damaged tissue to break down even further. So, before you do anything else related to recovery, make sure you’re hydrated.

2. Nutrition

After a workout, it’s important to replenish your depleted energy stores. While being properly hydrated will allow essential nutrients to be delivered to damaged tissue, those nutrients need to be readily available for transport. Replenishing with protein and carbohydrates after a workout is key for ensuring your muscles have the nutrients they need for repair.

Our bodies get energy from the food we eat. Eating high quality and nutrient dense foods will help our bodies function more efficiently. What we put in, we get out. You can’t expect high quality results from eating low quality foods. Consuming enough protein is key, since protein is the building block of our body.

3. Active Recovery

active recovery jog

Once adequately hydrated and nourished, active recovery techniques can then work their magic. Active recovery includes light activity to get muscles activated. There is a fine line between active recovery and further muscle damage, so make sure to always keep the muscle activation low stress. As mentioned earlier, this muscle activation will facilitate each stage of the recovery process. Normal movement throughout your day can help as well, but by incorporating active recovery techniques, you’ll be able to accelerate the process. The amazing thing about active recovery is that it addresses each part of the process, which is why it’s such an effective recovery method.

Going for a light job or swim is one way to do active recovery. Another is using Marc Pro, which creates non-fatiguing muscle activation using proprietary technology. Marc Pro is the only device that creates non-fatiguing contractions and unlike traditional active recovery techniques, you don’t have to worry about putting too much stress on muscle tissues. The result is a full and fast recovery that you can use to target specific or more general areas of the body.

4. Sleep

faster muscle recovery

Many of the body’s restorative functions take place while asleep. During the NREM sleep stage, blood flow increases and tissue growth and repair takes place. It’s also during sleep when human growth hormones are produced. In fact, a sleep article on Bodybuilding.com says, “In men, 60-70% of daily human growth hormone secretion occurs during early sleep, which is typically when the deepest sleep cycles occur. Poor quality sleep can negatively impact human growth hormone levels.”

Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Make sure you’re logging enough hours each night so you can get the maximum benefit for your body and mind.

Bottom Line

If you’re properly hydrated and nourished before going to bed, the muscle rebuilding process will be more effective. The same is true for active recovery. These factors are all important components of faster muscle recovery. If you lag on one, the whole process will be slowed down. For the fastest muscle recovery possible, make sure you concentrate on each of these factors.  

What About Other Methods?

You may be wondering why other popular recovery methods aren’t listed here. What about foam rollers, compression devices, or percussion therapy? These have their place, but when you dig in, you’ll see that when it comes to rebuilding muscle tissue, they aren’t very useful. Of course, if a certain technique feels good to you, by all means use it. But just make sure you’re first taking the necessary measures for muscle recovery.

Foam Rollers

The intent of foam rollers is to break down myofascial tissue. While this can have its benefits for mobility or range of motion, breaking down tissue is the opposite of recovery. In the recovery process, muscle tissue is rebuilt.

Compression Devices

Similar to a massage that puts external pressure on the skin, some waste can be pushed out of muscles. However, the lymphatic system is passive and the more effective method to push out waste is by activating the lymphatic system (through muscle activation). Plus, the other stages of recovery aren’t addressed with compression. Some people may think there’s an increase in blood flow, but it turns out that’s not the case. Creating pressure on the muscle and then releasing that pressure will create an initial surge in blood flow, but there’s no net gain in blood flow. Muscle activation is the better tactic for vasodilation.

Percussion Therapy

These are similar to foam rollers and compression devices. They can help break down tight tissues, which may slightly improve blood flow, and the external pressure can help evacuate some waste. But, with no muscle activation taking place, they won’t do much to accelerate the healing process.

To learn more about how the muscle recovery process works, check out this page.

 

sleepAny athlete knows the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. Not only does getting a restful night of sleep make an athlete feel their best, but it also plays a tremendous role in athletic performance. While knowing that sleep is important for overall fitness and recovery may seem easy, being able to execute and actually catch those “zzz’s” may be a completely different story.

Over 40 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep issues including sleep apnea, high cortisol levels, and low blood sugar. These sleep issues can affect overall energy levels and mood. So what can you do to make sure that you are getting the sleep you need? The Marc Pro team has some helpful tips to ensure that you are getting your best night’s sleep so that you can maximize your recovery and be awake for the training you love the most!

Do Not Go to Sleep Hungry

If you feel hungry when you go to sleep, then you are already doing your body a disservice before hitting the hay. Low blood sugar levels actually keep your body in a catabolic state during the night. In-turn, the anabolic process that aids in muscle repair is delayed, causing an athlete to recover less quickly during the night. Try having a snack before bed that is high in protein, but doesn’t make you too full, such as milk or cheese.

Schedule Hard Workouts for Earlier in the Day

A hard workout is a guaranteed way to make you tired, however elevated cortisol levels post-workout can keep you from falling asleep. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands and increases during exercise. If you are typically a night-owl workout fiend, consider shifting your workouts to earlier in the day (or at least three hours before bedtime) to allow your cortisol levels to drop.

Do You Know Your Gallbladder and Liver?

The gallbladder is the most active during the hours of 11pm and 1am. It is responsible for digesting fats and is also impacted by caffeine. As a result, if you are consuming bad fats or caffeinated drinks, your gallbladder could be keeping you awake. The liver is most active between 1am and 3am, so consider avoiding alcoholic drinks to help you rest through the night.

Stick to the Same Sleeping Schedule

In order to maximize the amount of rest that you are getting, stick to the same schedule everyday (including weekends). This schedule will allow for your body to maximize the amount of rest that you are getting, and prep you for the next workout or competition.

Sleep is a critical component of any athlete’s training, as sleep allows for strengthening and improvement to occur during the recovery process (which is similar to how the Marc Pro works). If you are having chronic issues sleeping, consider speaking with your doctor to ensure that you are pinpointing the areas that may be of concern.

daylight savings timeThis past Saturday night, many of us wandered around our houses, “springing” any non iPhone or non Android clocks forward an hour. While we may have grumbled about losing an hour of sleep (especially on a weekend!), there are other reasons for why most of us tend to feel tired following a time change.

Shifting forward an hour alters the body’s circadian rhythm, causing the internal clock to become out of sync with the current 24-hour cycle. While there is also a shift in time in the fall (when we “fall back” an hour), springing forward an hour, as we did this past weekend, is typically more difficult for the body to adjust to.

Over 60% of Americans experience the effects of lost sleep on the Monday after Daylight Savings Time starts. In fact, the time change has been linked with decreased performance, concentration, and even memory loss. Even the Journal of Sleep Medicine has encouraged that class and school exams not take place through the scope of one week following the shift with Daylight Savings Time, due to daytime sleepiness.

So what can you do to beat the Daylight Savings Time blues? A few tips below:

Go to sleep at the same time throughout the week

It can take some people up to three weeks to adjust to the changes from Daylight Savings Time. Going to bed at the same time consistently can allow for you to adapt to the time changes more quickly.

Maintain a bedtime routine

This might seem like a tip designed for kids, but by maintaining a regular bedtime routine, you’ll find it easier to fall asleep more quickly and attain more quality sleep throughout the night. Your bedtime routine might benefit from using the Marc Pro to help relieve muscle aches and soreness before climbing into bed. (And besides, it’s relaxing.)

Avoid screens before bed

While it’s tempting to answer that text or watch some Netflix while curled up in bed, you’re actually delaying the adjustment to the time change and affecting the quality of your sleep by staring at screens before bed.

Fun Fact: While most people quickly adjust to the time change and appreciate the later sunset, a minority of the US population have gone as far as taking legislative action towards Daylight Savings Time. States, such as Oklahoma are petitioning to have legislation changed so that Daylight Savings Time is not observed. For 2016, however, everyone will need to wake up an hour early to account for the change. So wake up, embrace the day and make awesome happen! If you have any tips for beating the time change fatigue, tweet us at @TheMarcPro or share a #daylightsavings tip via Instagram!

 

\