There are two sides to a coin, under the circumstances, we can look at the negative and complain or appreciate the fact that at least we have a home, some food, and we are still surviving, as many are suffering more than us. On the flip side, decide on the things that can be done with what you have.
For the majority of people, exercise is essential, followed by proper nutrition & rest. When you consider elite athletes, due to the present situation, tournaments and sporting events are postponed. To counter this, you need to eat, train, and sleep in different and individualized way. Since my main client base cater to athletes & coaches, all athletes need to have individual plans which are monitored, properly programmed; regressed & progressed on daily basis
since social media is flooded by everyone trying to be instructors or coaches. Being active is one thing; being an instructor or performance coach is another. Hence, I thought of discussing “The Best and Most Neglected Topic of Sleep.“SLEEP “ I can personally attest, as with my business with pro athletes, we have been using, monitoring, and manipulating variables to maximize our performance for years.
WHAT IS SLEEP?
In simply your body’s natural mechanism for recharging & repairing you physical and mental systems my analogy would be take your mobile phone after day’s work your battery runs down you have 2 options to charge 1st is when the phone is on switched on the other when its completely shutdown. 2nd option will charge the phone faster and it will aid the phones longevity.
Below articles is based on currents scientific data and my personal experience with clients and athletes.
NOW LETS LOOK AT THE SCIENCE
On average person sleep 25-30 years of their life span, human body and brain is vastly a complex system even as you read this scientist are researching and improving the understanding of Sleep & human body
Mammals & bird are wired to sleep one could argue from evolution both species are geared to hunt, eat, mate & sleep. Sleep might be the best thing for you in history due to staying still at night might have prevented you from being the prey.
Good quality sleep is associated with cell synthesis, muscle tissue repair, growth hormone release etc.
Sleep also removes toxins from the brain which is accumulated whilst you are awake, improves nerve cell communication (neurons), Brain plasticity (replaying & storing events of the day, also process and affirm new memories) as neuron creates new synapse, Increase immunity (as even moderate sleep might drop your immunity by 40-50%) as for how it directly effects your metabolism, heart, respiratory and endocrine systems are still being further investigated . Adding to that right amount of sleep benefits all components biology &physiology in humans
How Sleep Occur?
It all boils down to Circadian Rhythm. Circadian (approximate day /24hours), hence best explanation is sleep -wake cycle is calibrated to sun rise & sun set (light) & temperature, which process mind and body functions (releasing hormones, body temperature, metabolism) throughout the 24 period.
This is why when we train athletes we emphasis more training concepts on certain times of the day, then again it depends on individual athlete, training cycle, physical and mental status, based on training load & volume, to be discussed in details in another article. E.g. 1500-1600hrs one athlete could train for reaction time which gains the maximum benefit for his or her sporting event .
Let’s discuss the process; it all starts in the brain’s Hypothalamus (which effects sleep & arousal) which the nervous system connects to the endocrine system, within Hypothalamus there is SCN (Suprachiasmatic Nucleus) which receive information regarding light via eyes and the optic nerve then it decides on bodily rhythms & functions .
With the sunrise SCN triggers hormone cortisol which increases heart rate, blood pressure, increase memory capacity & concentration, delays melatonin (your sleep hormone), physically and cognitively reason as to why you will function best in the morning.
As the day progress if you are working at desk job, doing house work or athlete training for competition 2nd triggers happens due to the buildup of Adenosine in the brain which is which is a byproduct of neurons & other cells which burns up ATP (adenosine triphosphate ) energy molecules , when you get overload of Adenosine you tend to get sleepy that is your body’s communication method of saying “my battery is low it’s time to recharge” reverting to my first analogy of the mobile phone.
As the sun set and the darkness appear SCN sends signals to the pineal glad to produce melatonin sleep hormone then your body will go in to the stages of sleep. When sleeping adenosine drops & reabsorbs by neurons the very reason why we feel refreshed after good quality sleep.
STAGES OF SLEEP:
These were defined by electrical activity in inside the brain monitored by EEG. Stages are categorized by frequency and amplitude. We have NREM (Non- Rapid Eye Movement) in 3 stages each linked with difference brain frequency & activity followed by REM (Rapid Eye Movement) these 4 stages cycles through the night each lasting around 90-110 min.
STAGE 1 NREM 1:
- Low amplitude high frequency (theta waves)
- From wake mode blends to sleep mode
- Last few minutes some may experience hallucination
- Most common is hypnotic jerks (as if you were falling)
- Associates with light sleep, low heart rate, slow breathing , light movement
STAGE 2 NREM 2:
- Light sleep before the deep sleep
- Body temperature and other functions drop further than stage 1
- More theta waves& Sleep spindles ( ability to sleep with loud noise )
- K-complex (suppress cortico arousal keeping you at sleep)
- Some memories are transferred to long term memory
- More repeated sleep cycles are in this stage
STAGE3 NREM 3:
- Slow wave sleep or delta sleep
- Deep sleep stage low frequency high amplitude waves
- Sleep walking or talking may occur
- This stage happens in first section of the night
- Heart rate, breathing and muscle relaxation are at its best
- Muscle are paralyzed to prevent you from acting upon your dreams
- Dreams occur this stage can be defined as paradoxical ( active mind with a paralyzed body)
- Usually the first cycle happens in 90 minutes
- Brain will have mixed frequency
HOW DOES THE SLEEP CYCLE LOOKS?
- NREM 1-3 + NREM 2 + REM + N1 (cycle begins) for about 4-5 rounds. Each cycle lasting 90-110 minutes
HOW MANY HOURS OF SLEEP?
Majority of research and studies by experts, its evidence leads to 7-9 hours are optimal for adults.
When it comes to kids or older population this may vary, on the other side of the spectrum the Elite athletes sleep pattern are based on the time zone where the competition is based, training cycle, individual training loads, nutrition, recovery cycles, training age, metabolic age, biological age are few points as performance coaches we take into account.
NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS OF SLEEPING UNDER 7 HOURS OR SLEEPING OVER 9HOURS
- Heart disease
- Decrease in athletic performance
- Mental illness
- Decrease immunity
above conditions not limited and further clarification should be address with your doctor /physicians , especially if you have troubles with sleeping patterns which are abnormal.
OTHER SLEEP RELATED CONDITIONS WHICH NEED MEDICAL ATTENTION.
- Primary Insomnia (hyper arousal ) or secondary Insomnia (with health conditions)
- Sleep Apnea = Breathing interruption ( blood O2 will drop fast)
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea= Breathing is blocked partially ( snoring)
- Central Sleep Apnea ( interruption of brain signals telling the body to breath)
These are the most common conditions for adults this is why it is important to have regular medical checkup with your Doctor.
TIPS TO SLEEP BETTER & EFFICIENTLY
- Have a clean & a organized room
- Have clean sheets, comfortable mattress and pillows
- Set room temperature to suit your personal needs
- Have a regular time to wake up and sleep event when you travel adjust to the country zone
- Only associate your bed to sleep and to have Sex
- Have dim lights
- Switch off all phones, computers , TV 1 hour before bed, still then use blue light protective glasses
- Cut down on caffeine 12 hours before bed time
- Use meditation or other relaxation methods
- Have warm bath shower before bed time or some of the athlete prefer Ice bath or contrast showers then again it’s your personal choice
- Read a book after warm shower
- Don’t just lie in bed do other activity and come back to bed only to sleep
- Cut out alcohol and nicotine completely or at least few hours before bed time
- Use a sleep tracking app through your Smartphone or invest in health & fitness wearable tracker
I like to share some of tools I personally use and with some of my athletes, do your due diligence on the products also note I’m affiliate with the below products
1) My got to Pillow
2) My go to blue light cut off glasses
3) Travel Sleep Aid
Hope you find this information useful, always consult your doctor prior to starting any fitness, nutrition or heath/sports related activity. Love to here your thoughts and remember to try the sleep tips .
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