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Monday, August 3, 2015


Sleep is an underrated training 'technique'. It is even more important in athletics. Unfortunately, I have seen more of our athletes showing signs of limited sleep. These signs can be in the form of annoying soft tissue injuries, decreased performance, moodiness, and the athlete will complain of  "always feeling tired".

Athletes who DO NOT get enough sleep, especially the night of learning a new skill, will not process that new skill into the proper category where the brain holds that information. Dr. Czeisler, from the Harvard Medical school and  noted sleep specialist for many professional sports teams explains it this way: "We repeatedly go through 90-120 cycles of sleep. Within those cycles there are two main types of sleep: deep and rapid-eye.movement or REM. At first the cycles are dominated by deep sleep, as our brains drain toxins that have built up throughout the day. The brain also flushes out excess synapses-the connection between neurons that form during waking hours. In the process, the brain consolidates memories and rebuilds energy stores. As the night goes on, the balance shifts with more active REM dominating the final cycles. Most of the dreams we remember occur during REM. Solidifying knowledge requires both REM and deep sleep. The first aspect, which happens during deep sleep is basically a rehearsal : The brain files away the facts , practices the moves learned that day. The second part is integrating those facts and lessons into existing knowledge. This happens during REM."

Czeisler goes on to say that not getting enough sleep affects learning and memory:"The old school approach of toughing it out is completely bogus, not to mention counterproductive" This reinforces my stance on sleep and optimal performance.  In fact, Czeisler advised the team physician for the  2011 Stanley Cup Bruins to cancel a 1030am practice prior the 5:00pm puck drop the same day. It was game 7 of the finals. The team took a nap instead. The rest is history.

So if you are feeling that you are not getting enough sleep then you may want to take heed! If you think its not important take a look at the amount sleep professional athletes rely on to maintain peak performance :

(good night)

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