Sleep Deprivation and Exercise Performance

We all sleep, we all lose sleep when things get crazy, and we all feel out of whack when we do start to lose sleep.  Some of us are athletes and are demanded to train at a certain level day in and day out.  Sometimes balancing our training and personal life gets so hectic that we sacrifice sleep in order to fit everything into our boys schedules, but what happens to our athletic performance when we lose sleep?

Studies have showed that a lack of sleep in an athletes body has lead to an inability to properly metabolize glucose as well as an increase in cortisol levels.  An increase in cortisol levels comes from our body’s increase in stress levels that are induced by sleep deprivation that sometimes we don’t notice.  It can lead to an impaired memory, age-related insulin resistance, and an inability for your body to recover it’s muscles.  Lack of sleep also decreases the levels of human growth hormone.

So what does the aforementioned actually mean for an athlete?

1. Glucose and Glycogen (stored glucose) are your muscles source of energy.  For an endurance athlete being able to utilize the glucose in your muscles and liver is extra important.  Not only does sleep deprivation decrease glycogen stores but it also decreases utilization, which greatly .

2. Raised cortisol levels mess with muscle tissue and repair, which is needed to full recover from a gruesome training day.

Recap: Many athletes think diet is the most important factor in recovery and taking your training to the next level.  In  reality, diet and sleep go hand in hand if you want to recover and be able to train harder the next day.

athlete being able to store glucose and utilize it 100% in your muscles and liver is extra important.

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