Did you know that lack of sleep can actually increase your level of stress? Also it can leave you feeling like you are in slow motion. This can be a really bad thing for a gymnast. Gymnastics requires you to have sharp reflexes. Without a good night of sleep your reaction time is slower and you could get injured.
Sleep affects recovery, metabolism, hormonal balance, mood, and athletic performance. During sleep, the body secretes growth hormone, which aids in strength building and recovery from injury by stimulating the healing and growth of muscle and bone as well as the burning of fat. It's not just the night before a completion that we need to pay attention to the amount of sleep we need. We should be making it a habit.
Cheri Mah of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory published a study in 2007 showed that athletes who had 10 hours of sleep ran faster and were more accurate. Sleep is one of the most important steps in your training.
So how do you optimize your sleeping?
- Set aside 7-10 hours of sleep a night.
- Schedule it like you would any other appointment or class.
- Be consistent. Go to bed each night and wake up each morning at the same time.
- Turn off your phone, laptop, and your television.
- Keep your room dark during sleeping hours.
- Avoid caffeine 3-4 hours before bed.
- Avoid strength training 2-3 hours before bed.
- Don't take naps 2-3 hours before bed.
- Drink chamomile or peppermint tea before bed.
- Take a bath to get ready for bed.
These tips should help you to optimize your sleeping which will help you to become a better gymnast.
C. Mah. Extra Sleep Improves Athletes' Performance. Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. June 14, 2007.