The Power of Sleep

FROM JAMES MCMURCHY, TRACTION PERFORMANCE SPECIALIST

I am asked regularly by athletes and clients what the best “supplement” to increase performance or build muscle is, with the expectation of the name of a particular protein powder or BCAA brand that can be bought at the store. The best supplement, by far, for anyone looking to increase their physique, performance, and overall health is free and available to everyone - SLEEP!!! It has been statistically shown time and time again that poor sleep habits decrease strength and power output, reaction time, decision making, immune system function, and overall cognitive and emotional wellness (to name a few).

Yet people (athletes especially) tremendously downplay the role of quality sleep, thinking that they can “tough it out” or that they are not affected by it the same way as others. The adaptations (gains) from training do not happen during the activity, but during sleep when the brain repairs and remodels itself. Deep sleep is nature’s way of removing the daily buildup of toxins and stress hormones, similarly to  the way that an oil change dumps the old oil and replaces it to allow the engine to function properly. Without regular service, can you get where you are going? Sure, but that does not change the fact that, long term, you are damaging your engine (your brain), and limiting its performance. 

Adequate sleep is a critical component of the training and recovery process, as well as overall health, wellness and emotional management. Athletes, less than 7-8 hours a night is not cutting it!!! If you would like to know more about managing your sleep habits, contact one of our performance staff members for more information.