Sleep and Body & Mind Recovery
One of the most common disorders among Americans are sleeping disorders. Once we fall asleep our body enters into various steps of mental, physiological and anatomical repair. Until recently mechanism and devices to monitor our sleep efficiency have been either too expensive or inaccessible to the average person. Technology has made such devices more precise and accessible. Now they offer a whole range of information about our sleep pattern, quality and efficiency. Our sleep in composed of 5 stages. Stages 1 - 4 also called non-REM sleep and stage 5 is better known as REM sleep. During stages 3-4, now known as N3 our bodies go through the deepest and most restorative sleep, our blood pressure drops, our breathing slows, muscles become relax, blood supply to muscles increases, tissue growth and repair occurs and a multiple hormones are releases that aid in the muscle repair process. During stage 5, better known as REM sleep, is the stage that provides energy to the brain and body and a good REM stage supports daytime performance. As you can see having technologies that helps us study and monitor our stages of sleep will provide us with the necessary information to make adjustments in our sleep pattern and hygiene. Many times we wake up tired and feel that our body did not recover completely from the day before, and we cannot understand why. Knowing how efficient our stages of sleet were the night before, we can make sense and understand our morning state of mind and state of health.
Having said all this, it is important to understand that all the new sleep monitoring devices on the market provide a great deal of information, but that such information should be interpreted and analyzed jointly with a health care professional.
Our quality of sleep directly influences our training and performance metrics since it’s an integral part of our recovery process. The lack of sleep or cumulative sleep debt can negatively affect an athletes performance and put him or her at risk for over-training and/or under-recovery. The fact that you slept for 8 hours does not describe the quality of the sleep cycle. This is why sleep monitoring is so important. It provides an insight on the quality and duration of each stage of our sleep cycle. Alterations in our sleep hygiene can cause such problems as disrupted glucose metabolism, alteration in our neuro-endocrine functioning, impaired immune response and a decrease in cardiovascular performance among other disturbances.
One can start to see the relationship between an athlete's performance and it's REM cycle duration and frequency. Much of our body and mind recovery during sleep, is brought about by hormone activity. During the non-REM stages of sleep an increase of growth hormone secretion and a suppression of cortisol (the stress hormone) are observed. Also The liberation of androgens during those stages promote bone growth and promote the oxidation of fats. The more intense the training the more need we have of a fully functional and efficient sleep cycle to help us recover from the stress of exercise and training.
Now we can understand the importance of monitoring our sleep pattern and integrating such information as part of our training program.
More information on sleep disorders in the US, can be found in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site. For a link, please click HERE.
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