It is not advised to go straight to sleep after a long day of exercise. However, many athletes continue to be active well into the evenings this summer. This is a problem for their bodies and quality of sleep.
Good preparation for an athlete includes a lot of training, good nutrition, and adequate and quality sleep. A busy summer awaits athletes with a multitude of sports to choose from. Commercial reasons dictate that the European Football Championship matches take place in the evening. It is not healthy.
According to Kasper Janssen, a sports doctor, it is best not to exercise too late at night. “Athletes often go to bed later than usual, don’t get enough sleep, and their quality of sleep suffers. They aren’t fully awake the next morning. This can cause muscle pain that is more severe and lasts for a longer time.
It is vital to get good sleep.
Els van den Helm, a sleep expert, agrees that deep sleep is crucial for muscle recovery. We have done extensive research with athletes and found that they sleep worse after playing than they do on other nights.
Van der Helm says this is because athletes release more stress hormones on days when they are active late at night. The body becomes alert when this stress hormone (also known as cortisol) is released. Your body will then prepare to fight or run to defend itself. When your body believes it is in danger, it can be very difficult to fall asleep.
“The bright stadium light doesn’t help. That can cause the sleep hormone melatonin to be suppressed.”
Van der Helm, slaapexpert
Van der Helm says that there are many other factors that affect the quality of sleep after a long night of sports. The sleep expert says that while the stadium lights are not helpful, they can make it harder for athletes to fall asleep quickly in their hotel rooms.
The body’s temperature can also rise during exercise. The body temperature must drop in order to allow an athlete to fall asleep. However, this can take several hours.
Sleep deprivation can be compensated
It is possible to prepare for a summer of intense sports for athletes who are aware that it will be hard. It will be Sleep bankingJanssen says that this is what Janssen calls it. Janssen says that athletes should sleep at least one week ahead of their competition to make up for any sleep loss later.
“With a ‘full cycle nap’ you go through a complete sleep cycle in an hour and a half.”
Kasper Janssen is a sports doctor
If athletes are well rested, the sports doctor says that less sleep should not be an issue after competitions. “For example, using a so called Full cycle napTo take. You can go through a complete sleep cycle in just one and a quarter hours. This will allow you to fall into deep sleep. This is particularly important for physical recovery. It is important to practice this before you try it on the match day.
Optimize sleep recovery
Janssen states that team physicians have taken the importance and value of good sleep seriously for over ten years. “Top athletes get training on how to best recover. Not only is nutrition examined but it also discusses how to optimize recovery through sleep. It also applies to athletes who benefit from regularity. So don’t go to bed early on a day that isn’t a competition day. Instead, get up and start looking for daylight.
Are players required to play a match if they have had a bad night? Full cycle napVan der Helm says that a nap in the afternoon can help you perform better during competition. Janssen agrees. “A study of netball player found that those who took a snooze had more jumping power than those who didn’t. The sports doctor recommends that a power nap be taken at least three hours before the game and should last no longer than twenty minutes. “Avoiding this you may feel a little bit of a hangover.”