I'm tired. Last week, I had 5 to 6 hours of sleep every night. I usually shoot for 7, and when I'm really lucky I'll get in 8 hours. Last week just wasn't one of those weeks. I had just gotten off of a recover week in my training cycle, so fortunately, I really didn't feel the effects until a challenging run workout on Friday. Then came the weekend, and Monday. By yesterday I was a walking vegetable. Seriously. Ask Emily, ask Courtney... I was stumbling around the apartment after my workouts, completely useless until I passed out in bed long before my wife and sister even got back from parking the car. I thought this would be a good time to address the value of sleep in training.
Will gave me some info on the advantages of sleep over the summer, but I wanted to make sure I've got my facts straight before posting this. I found a couple articles:
From some dude
DUH, sleep is important. But I bet you didn't know how important - especially for athletes! You know all that training you do? Well apparently it counts for diddly-squat if you don't sleep. Some of you may already be familiar with the fact that, training isn't what builds muscle - it's the recovery after training. Well apparently, recovery doesn't just mean taking it easy - it means SLEEPING. Good sleeping. At least 7 hours without tossing, turning, or getting woken up by your stupid cat.
The magic sleep fairy will only bless your training if you get this good sleep that I'm talking about. If you do, she leaves a hefty pile of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) under your pillow to help grow and repair muscle, grow bone mass, and burn fat. The key to this though, is SOLID SLEEP. The sleep fairy only visits during the deepest phases of your sleep cycle, so kick the cat out of the bedroom, and sleep soundly!
Otherwise, beware of the evil fatigue troll (or something more scary). Every time you workout, your fitness level goes down - your body becomes fatigued. Sleeping allows your body to over compensate, making you more fit than you were before training. When you deprive your body of sleep, you leave your body in a state of fatigue. Working out again will bring your level of fitness down even lower. So as you train more with less sleep, I guess you could say you're actually getting in worse shape than when you started! But this isn't even the half of it folks. The active.com article says that depriving your body of sleep for days on end results in the release of another hormone called cortisol, and apparently prolonged elevation of cortisol levels can result in diabetes and dimensia later in life.
So get your sleep and end up a well rested, happy, and fit and fast triathlete, or end up a tired weak, sugar craving, crazy old man.