“Sleep is a silent training of athletes”

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To get to performance excellence or improvement in health indicatorswhether in the case of a competitive or amateur athlete, it is convenient to take care of every detail down to the millimeter and here the so-called invisible training.

“When we talk about invisible training, we mean anything an athlete does between one exercise session and anotherand it is just as important as the one we do on the track, in the park or at the gym ”- explains the doctor Juan Antonio Corbalandirector of the Vithas International Sports Health Unit and former Real Madrid basketball player and the Spanish national team.

And one of the fundamental aspects of this invisible training is that of rest. “Sports performance is mainly based on training, but other factors such as physical recovery, psychological preparation, nutrition and of course rest are important. Sleep is a silent training of athletes“, explains Dr. Eduard Estivill, Head of the Sleep Department at Quirónsalud Vallès Hospital and Universitari General de Catalunya Hospital.

This is why adequate sleep plays a fundamental role in performance, in physical, physiological and metabolic recovery, as well as in cognitive and emotional health due to its regenerative effects. “Travel, time shifts, eating, psychosocial stress, use of electronic devices, sporting event schedules, anxiety and fatigue situations after each event, they bring the athlete to the limit, sleeping for several hours in unfamiliar spaces and certainly not being able to properly rest due to physical exhaustion – warns the specialist.

For this reason, athletes should be encouraged to sleep longer than the rest of the population in order to recover from exercise and have a very good sleep quality. “Athletes require extra sleep to enable adaptation to training stressors and to minimize any residual fatigue caused by training and competition, ”suggests Dr. Estivill.

Exercise does not guarantee a better rest

Moreover, contrary to popular belief, strenuous exercise “does not mean better sleep.” “Failure to rest implies additional wear and tear that affects recovery, emotional state, and performance. Sleep management for athletes and their teams is crucial and varied to maintain maximum performance and sufficient rest for the physiological needs of a sporting event, ”says the expert.

Therefore, it is not unwise to go to a professional in order to surrender sleep, circadian rhythm and neurocognitive studies to build a sleep plan, follow guidelines and schedules, and be monitored by athletes. The goal is nothing more than to achieve better athletic performance for both professional and amateur athletes.