by Ryan Humphries, Co-Owner & Lead Coach
Sleep is like free, legal steroids.
Don’t use steroids. That’s not what we mean. We’re only using that comparison to make a strong point: getting enough sleep can enhance your health and athletic performance to an astonishing degree – in a safe, natural way.
People who get enough sleep can recover faster, gain more muscle, lose more fat and perform better. You could be going to the gym and eating like a champ, but if you aren’t sleeping well, you’re not optimizing results.
We've all heard that we should probably be getting somewhere between 7-9 hours of sleep per night, but why? What exactly is so important about sleep?
Everyone, Everyone, Everyone Benefits from A Full Night of Sleep
You've probably heard a friend or co-worker say something like "I function just fine on 5-6 hours of sleep." Perhaps you've uttered that sentence before? Quoting the classic movie "Office Space," 5-6 hours of sleep is kind of like the "minimum amount of flair." Sure, it's possible to function on less than 7-9 hours per night, but if you choose to do that, you're sacrificing more than you think.
When you sleep, your body sends out hormones and resets your metabolism, impacting your physical and mental health. Every 90 minutes or so you get little boost of growth hormone. The less sleep you get, the less growth hormone you get. That hormone impacts your metabolism, regulates blood pressure, builds muscle, reduces fat, help you think clearly, and reduces your risk of disease.
How Much Sleep is Enough?
Research shows that 8 hours of sleep a night is awesome. Seven is pretty good. Six is not that great. If you want to perform at the highest level, you need 7 to 8 hours a night. Even if you feel pretty OK at 4-5 hours, you’re not performing well.
That brings us to athletic performance. Check out the study Stanford about how sleep can improve your sprint time and free throw accuracy!
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