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Catch some Z

Sleep & impact on training

by My Finish Line

Research from Boston University this year (October 2019) found that when we fall into deep sleep, cerebrospinal fluid flows from the spine into our brains and gives them a wash; a deep sleep deep clean.

Do yourself a favour. Ignore what you are reading now and go back to the top of the blog and read that again. It beggars belief that this news has not exploded onto the mainstream media considering the gravity and importance of the research and the implications it has on everyone.

We are all highly atuned to the importance of diet, exercise, wellness, limited screen time, interaction with others, self care etc but seemingly something as absolutely phenomenally amazing as this has slipped under the radar somehow. It is almost as if this hugely relevant, game-changing piece of information has failed to compete with other aspects of news, such as, well, Game Changer for example. This may be the true danger of the way we get our news – everything has the same weight all of a sudden. Irrelevant info, challenging info, questionable info; they all get the same gravity placed on them and the same platform as important info.

Sleep is a performance enhancer. Not only is that true, but lack of sleep destroys performance. And when we say ‘performance’ here, it is a catch-all term for every activity ranging from 10k running to cognitive thought processes in research. You’d have thought therefore that the fact that spinal fluid enters our brains during sleep to act as a washing machine, enabling everything from increased concentration to potentially minimising the chances of having Alzheimer’s would be significant. Not so, seemingly, when we need to find who is Lord Sugar’s next apprentice or who came out of the jungle last.

When we sleep, the body repairs; and for all of us that engage in training as a part of our lives we know that the time between training sessions are almost as important as the sessions themselves. When this repair is happening in our sleep, the hormones that regulate overcompensation and vitality kick into action moreso than when we are awake. It is not only a form of mental regeneration, but physical too. The whole reason we train is to elevate the body to overcompensate from stress and to be able to perform at a heightened state of freshness, whether that is improved performance or ability to recover at a quicker rate.

But then again I know that most of us are reading this at 11pm on our phones in our bed instead of using the bed for what it is truly for.