A good MTB performance depends decisively on a good quality of sleep, as athletes who sleep well get the rest the body needs to refresh itself.
In very high performance training programs, competitors sleep from 8h to 9h per night, in addition to sleeping for an additional 1h or 2h after training in the morning. According to experts, this is a way to speed up the muscle regeneration process and avoid the dreaded overtraining.
For those who want to know more about the role of sleep in the athletes’ preparation process and how it influences their performance in MTB, we organized this post to address the topic. We’ll talk about how and why to sleep well, detailing how sleep – or lack of it – affects the body and, consequently, MTB performance. Follow up.
Sleep is divided into five stages, the first three being what we call the relaxation phase. During the fourth and fifth stages, deep sleep takes place, which is responsible for invigorating our organism. The longer you stick with these last two phases, the better the quality of your sleep.
And here is the key point to understand those cases of athletes who sleep the recommended number of hours, or even more, but do not feel properly rested during the period they spend awake. Those who find themselves in this situation may be spending more time in the first three phases, enjoying very little deep sleep.
It is during the deepest sleep that your body, through the reproduction of certain hormones, regenerates muscle tissue, preventing eventual injuries. In addition, we have the issue of disposition and energy in general. A good night’s sleep recharges the body’s serotonin levels, the so-called joy hormone, responsible for promoting a feeling of well-being when we are properly rested.
Now that you know how a good night’s sleep affects the body, check out what are the undesirable effects of a bad night’s sleep for an MTB athlete.
One of the great battles of MTB competitors happens with the scale. This is because, to be a high performance cycling athlete, it is necessary to maintain a percentage of body fat in the range of 15%, a very challenging mark for many people.
In addition to hindering the maintenance of good muscle tone, fat also works as a thermal insulator, which is bad. Keep in mind that on a high-intensity pedal, it is interesting for the athlete to quickly cool down their body temperature.
And when bad sleep is the rule, the athlete has his metabolism affected and the body finds it difficult to eliminate energy from carbohydrates and lipids.
Sleeping poorly also affects our immune system, weakening our defense mechanisms. For those who want to stay away from any cold, sleep should be a priority.
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. When we sleep poorly, we produce it in undesirable proportions, which affects our mental state and disposition very negatively.
Now let’s look at some tips to improve the quality of your sleep and get better MTB performance.
Quality sleep demands a state of deep relaxation. Thinking about it, before going to sleep, it’s interesting to try to forget about everyday worries and think positive thoughts that allow you to disconnect continuously. A hot bath can help induce this state, as can a noise-free environment.
A good diet is also directly linked to the quality of sleep, especially during the night. During this period, it is important to avoid heavy meals such as bread, pasta and red meat for good digestion.
Artificial lighting is one of the great villains of a good night’s sleep. The screen of cell phones and televisions emit a frequency of blue light, which serves as a stimulus for alertness – everything we don’t need at bedtime. Therefore, allow yourself to disconnect a few minutes or hours before going to bed, avoiding the use of electronics around bedtime.
There are those who can relax and sleep soundly even in the presence of noise, which is not the case for most people. The most suitable is to sleep in a quiet environment, without a TV on or something like that.
Going to bed without sleep is a real martyrdom. With the need for sleep in mind, we try to force ourselves to fall asleep, seeking the most comfortable position and a thought that induces relaxation.
In these situations, it seems that the more we try, the further away we get from the much-desired sleep. What, then, must be done?
Experts recommend never going to bed without sleep. This is because this behavior leads us to unconsciously process the idea that the bed is an unsuitable place to sleep, since we arrive at it without sleep – however paradoxical this may seem.
The ideal, therefore, is to create a kind of rite for sleeping, following the same times of waking up and going to bed daily, so that our organism gets used to starting to turn off after a certain hour.