Good Sleep Can Really Improve Our Regular Runs
The way we feel while we are awake and training depends on what happens while we are asleep.
Sleep plays a vital role in our health and our mental & physical well-being, which contributes to improving our running performance.
Sleep is extremely important for runners, because without proper and good-quality sleep, runners are at a higher risk of developing long-term health problems. Our ability to think, react, learn and engage with others decreases, and our circulatory system, metabolism, respiratory system, and immune system will also be affected negatively.
9 Reasons Why Prioritising Sleep Will Improve Our Running
1. Build Muscle & Repair Tissue
2. Athletic Performance
3. Hormonal Balance
4. Water Reabsorption
6. Injury Risk
7. Immunity Boost
9. Heart and Circulatory System
Build Muscle & Repair Tissue
When you sleep deeply, Human Growth Hormone is released.
HGH helps repairing tissue, building muscle, strengthening bones, and converting fat to fuel.
When we run, we aren’t just building our stamina and strength, we’re also breaking our body down, causing a tiny amount of tissue damage with every step.
Allowing ourself time to recover after our runs is what makes it possible for us to come back better adapted for our next run.
HGH also helps healing our muscle tissue after a running injury. This is why sleep is a VITAL component of our recovery and should be taken as seriously as our training.
This hormone also stimulates our liver to make an insulin, like protein that produces cartilage cells, which contribute to our bone and organ health.
Getting enough sleep is crucial for athletic performance.
Studies show that a night of good sleep can improve speed, accuracy, and reaction time in athletes.
Carbohydrates help provide an easy source of energy for the body, when we break those carbs down, the sugars are stored in our muscles as glycogen. The glycogen is what we use up on our runs.
When we don’t get an adequate amount of sleep, our body is less able to store those carbohydrates, meaning less glycogen available on our run.
Athletes who sleep less have lower glycogen stores, which results in them being unable to produce as much energy, leading to a decrease in athletic performance.
Inadequate sleep causes our body to produce less Human Growth Hormone and produce more Cortisol. Both of these effects make it very hard for our body to recover properly.
Ghrelin hormone: Known as the “hunger hormone” because of its stimulatory effects on food intake, fat deposition, and growth hormone release.
Leptin hormone: Regulates energy balance, suppressing food intake and inducing weight loss.
When we don’t get enough sleep, we have an increase in Ghrelin and a decrease in Leptin. This results in us eating more, even if we don’t need to because we don’t have a strong signal to stop.
Drinking water is essential. H2O accounts for up to 60% of the human body, and it helps with a wide variety of bodily functions, like cell growth, waste removal, and digestion.
Getting a good night’s sleep can benefit our running to support water reabsorption.
When we sleep, our kidney balances water, sodium, and other electrolytes. Without enough water, the kidneys can’t balance electrolytes properly.
Not enough sleep may cause dehydration, which is caused by disrupting the release of a hormone (vasopressin) that is key to regulating hydration.
People who regularly got 6 or fewer hours of sleep each night had more concentrated urine than those who got about 8 hours per night.
Short sleep duration was associated with higher causes of inadequate hydration.
It was also reported that people who regularly slept for 6 hours or less each night were 16%-59% percent more likely to be dehydrated than those who slept for 8 hours a night.
When people don’t get enough sleep, their attention and concentration abilities decline.
Less sleep results in reaction time lengthening, inattentiveness, and responding poorly to environmental signals.
This influences our ability to perform simple tasks that require logical reasoning.
Reduce Injury Risk
Our risk of getting injured during training is increased when we don’t get enough quality sleep.
When we sleep our body produces cytokines hormones that help build immunity and prevent infections.
Getting sufficient hours of high-quality sleep enables a well-balanced immune defence that features strong innate and adaptive immunity.
One of the main functions of sleep is memory consolidation. Sleep helps with the formation of long-term memories.
When we get a good quality night’s sleep, we strengthen the neural connections that create our memories. Without an adequate amount of sleep, those neurons don’t function properly, which inhibits our ability to remember things.
Heart & Circulatory System
When we enter REM sleep, our blood pressure and heart rate fall.
In the REM stage of sleep our sympathetic system is activated, increasing our heart rate and blood pressure to the usual levels when we are awake but relaxed.
Adequate sleep duration is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
Most of us wake up early before the rest of the family to perform our run or strength training, this means we get less sleep. We can often do that after a restless night of bad-quality sleep.
Should We Run On Little To No sleep?
Running on no sleep comes with some dangerous health issues. Doing it once in a while (If extremely necessary is alright) but it’s the continuous routine of this that leads to the risk of illness and injury.
So now that you know the basics of why sleep is important to training, here are some tips to help you get the right amount of sleep.
Tips To Help You Get A Quality Night’s Sleep
Limit your alcohol intake
Avoid exercise within 3 hours of bedtime.
One hour before bed, wind down with something calm and relaxing like reading a book.
Limit your caffeine intake from lunchtime.
Keep your bedroom cool and dark.
Should You Sleep More The Longer You Run?
Sleep becomes more important during training periods because full recovery, increasing kilometres, and reducing your risk of injury all require an increase in sleep.
When you go on a long run, three key physiological adaptations occur in your body-Enzymatic, capillary, and musculoskeletal.
After this process your body needs time to repair itself and adapt to the training and that recovery process occurs while you sleep.
So how much sleep should you be getting after your long runs- 7-9 hours.
It’s been proven that most adults require 8-10 hours of sleep per night but athletes need 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Also to listen and follow our body’s recommendation for the hours of sleep, will support are overall health and running performance.
Sleep Well, Enough Hours Of Sleep, Feel Super Healthy, Strong, Positive, Happy, No Extreme Fatigue, And Enjoy Some Good & Great Runs!