How much should you sleep for recovery?





How much should you sleep for recovery?

How much should you sleep for recovery?

With so much attention paid to nutrition and exercise, it is a little surprising that one of the most important aspects of health is often ignored. Sleep! In this article we will answer the question “how much should you sleep for recovery?”.

Benefits of Sleep

With sleep, it’s not so much about how beneficial sleep is. But rather, how unhealthy a lack of sleep is! Bad sleep can lead to a reduction in testosterone and growth hormone in men, slowing down your recovery from exercise, leading to a reduction in fertility, a reduction in mood, and an increase in stress.

Bad sleep can also lead to an increase in appetite, a reduction in non-exercise activity (so a reduction in your metabolic rate) and can lead to weight gain. This creates a vicious cycle, because being overweight can then affect your sleep!



Luckily, you can reverse this by improving your sleep quality and sleep duration. Doing so will banish fatigue, improve your recovery from exercise, improve your cognition, and help boost your mood.

How much should you sleep for recovery?

This depends on what level of exercise you are performing; a marathon runner would need more recovery time than somebody who’s just finished a Zumba class. But if we generalise, we’d say at least 8 hours for a regular member of the public, and as much as 10 hours for an athlete.

A 2011 study by Mah et al found that basketball players who slept for 10 hours saw improvements in their game performance, their shooting accuracy, a reduction in fatigue, and improvements in mental well-being [1].

How much should you sleep for recovery?

It is a well-known fact that many top sports teams have invested heavily in improving the sleep of their top performing athletes. In the soccer world, Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Barcelona have all spent millions on top of the line sleeping rooms for their players post-practice.

Granted, the training of an elite athlete is going to be a lot more intense than that of a regular gym goer. But there are still lessons to be learnt. If you are investing time and money into your training and nutrition, then there is no point in ignoring your sleep!

How can I improve my sleep?

There are many ways to improve your sleep. The most effective is to create a sleep schedule. A time of night when you go to bed and a time that you wake up. Stick to that religiously. Going to bed at the same time each night will get your body into a rhythm. Once you have established this rhythm, your body will be able to fall asleep quicker. This means that your head can hit the pillow and you’ll be out, rather than tossing and turning for 2 hours.

Other ways to improve your sleep include:

  1. Removing all blue lights (phones, tablets, computers, tv’s) for 30 minutes before you go to sleep
  2. Not drinking tea or coffee for 8 hours before you go to bed
  3. Practicing meditation before you go to sleep
  4. Exercising more throughout the day

How much should you sleep for recovery?

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3119836/

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