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3 Reasons Why Your Lack of Sleep is Killing your Performance

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As gym owners, we often hear many athletes discuss that on certain days they  aren’t able to match the level of performance they have hit in the past.  Many factors contribute to this, stress, daily dietary habits, but one of the most overlooked is the contribution sleep has on your workout.  Here are 3 things to consider that might keep you from staying awake to watch one more episode of your most recent Netflix binge.

  1. Drop in Athletic Preformance
    Less than 6 hours of sleep can lead to a 30% deduction in your athletic performance. That’s equal to an above average track athlete who runs a 400m in :43 seconds. That same track athlete is now running that time :55 seconds. Still fast to you or I, but they aren’t getting a scholarship and they aren’t turning heads at that pace.  Or for you Crossfit athletes who complete “Fran” in 3 minutes, when you operate on a sub-optimal sleep level, you’re now looking at a 4 minute Fran time.
  2. Increase Injury Risk / Lack of Recovery
    During deep sleep, human growth hormone is released and restores your body and muscles from the stresses of the day.  Brain activity slows to a crawl and your blood supply available to your muscles increases, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to the healing and growth process. Muscle and tissue are rejuvenated and new cells are regenerated during this phase of sleep. Factors that keep you from deep sleep are the following: Too much light in your bedroom, temperature is too high, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, and antihistamines, as well as prescription medications including beta blockers, alpha blockers, and antidepressants. By not allowing your muscle and tissue to recover, you are adding further risk in any type of intense fitness routine.
  3. Weight Gain
    Studies from the World Health Organization have shown that short sleep durations of 6 hours or less have led to a reduction of Leptin and an increase in Ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that assists in regulating your appetite, while Ghrelin increases the appetite. Even if that increases your appetite enough to add 200-300 calories a day, that is roughly 15-20lbs of obese mass over a year. That added fat mass will certainly play a roll in decreased performance.Next week will give you 3 ways to increase the quality of your sleep thus helping you boost your performance.