The Ripple Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. Sleep is highly beneficial for athletic performance, and exercising regularly is highly beneficial for sleep.

2. During sleep, our hearts slow down, our blood pressure drops, and our muscles relax. This provides us with some much-needed rest so that our cardiovascular systems and muscles can repair and rebuild themselves.

3. One of the key aspects of recovery during sleep is the release of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). HGH promotes fat breakdown, increases muscle mass, and improves the body's ability to recover from the workout and prepare it for the next training session. 

“Society is learning how important sleep is and how dangerous sleep deprivation is. We’re teaching our players: Sleep is a weapon.” – Sam Ramsden, Director of Player Health & Performance, Seattle Seahawks.

There is a reciprocal relationship between sleep and exercise. If you sleep properly, you will probably perform well during your next workout, and if you exercise regularly, you will be able to sleep well. It's a positive cycle and another example of the ripple effect.

Dr. Cheri Mah at Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory conducted a telling research project on the impact of increased sleep on athletic performance. Mah measured the 11 members of the Stanford University men’s varsity basketball team for a baseline period of 3 weeks, during which time they slept about 7 to 8 hours per night. Then the athletes deliberately increased their sleep by 110 minutes and tried to stay in bed for 10 hours each night. After the sleep extension phase, the athletes had faster sprint times, improved shooting accuracy (by 9% even from three-point range!), and decreased fatigue.

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We know that sleeping well improves our recovery and regeneration after a workout or athletic competition, which helps us adapt to the exercise we're doing, so we get fitter and stronger faster. During sleep, our hearts slow down, our blood pressure drops, and our muscles relax. This provides us with some much-needed rest so that our cardiovascular systems and muscles can repair and rebuild themselves.

One example of a critical restorative process that occurs while you are sleeping is the release of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). HGH promotes fat breakdown and increases in muscle mass, which allows the body to recover from the physiological stresses that occur during exercise and daily life. If you are sleep deprived and have less HGH in your system, not only will you restrict your body’s ability to recover while you are sleeping, but it also appears that you will limit your ability to exercise the next day. Lower levels of HGH may decrease the amount of time you can exercise due to reduced energy stores in your muscles.

The more you can commit to getting a proper amount of sleep, the healthier and more effective you will be.

Today’s New Habit: Be consistent

Now that you have logged your sleep patterns for the past two weeks, you should have a good idea of how long you sleep, and when you normally go to bed and wake up.

For the next two weeks, let’s try and be consistent. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. Don’t worry too much about how much sleep you’re getting. The important thing now is to try and create a consistent and healthy routine. Keep logging your bedtime and wake times to see how you’re doing. We’ll check in on you next week!