Why is sleep so important for runners?
We know that a good night’s sleep is important. But how important is it for runners? How much sleep do you need? And what happens when you don’t get enough sleep? In this article, we give six reasons why sleep is important for runners.
1. Recovery of the body
When you go to sleep, you go through several stages of sleep. The most well-known phase is the REM-sleep phase. Yet for runners, a phase before that is at least as important. Pre-REM sleep is, in fact, the phase in which muscle building and recovery take place. Damaged muscles are repaired through protein synthesis. Pre-REM sleep starts 20 to 40 minutes after you fall asleep and also lasts around 20 to 40 minutes. During this phase, your body temperature and heart rate drop and most growth hormone and testosterone are produced. That is why this phase is so important for the body’s recovery.
2. Improved regulation of appetite
If you do not sleep enough, digestion is disturbed. Due to the production of cortisol, people tend to eat more. Research therefore shows that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to gain weight. It appears to be more difficult to control eating impulses. This will not have a positive effect on your running performance.
3. More resilience
Getting enough sleep makes you feel more resilient. As a result, you not only feel physically, but also mentally, that you can handle your running training better. This helps in your workouts, but also in a race. A marathon? Let’s do it.
4. Better concentration
Your ability to concentrate is also better if you have had a good night’s sleep. This is pleasant not only in your everyday life, but also in sports. With better concentration, you can get more out of your workout and thus ultimately perform better.
5. Less chance of injuries
Sufficient sleep reduces the risk of injury. The body is resilient and can cope with greater training intensity. Additionally, sufficient sleep will also offer added value to your resistance. You will be less likely to become ill.
6. Improved performance
Finally, a good night’s sleep improves performance. Research shows that people who sleep eight hours (or more) a night seem to have an improvement in strength and endurance. Ultimately, this could also lead to better running performance.
So, there are plenty of reasons to get enough sleep in addition to your workouts.