LGN say - Kip for victory!
Sleep plays a vital role in repairing the body, from the wider health implications of improved immune system to running specific tissue repair. Much of this repair is via the human growth hormone production and since the largest human growth hormone surge occurs during sleep, it is vital for runners of all abilities and aspirations to get plenty of it.
Drugs cheating versus an extra 40 winks
Human Growth Hormone is produced by the body in the pituitary gland and has been the drug of choice for many A-list athletic cheats due to its powerful effect and inability to be detected 24 hours after dosage. However, the good news is that by enhancing your sleep you can get a bigger dose naturally, without ever having to lose precious training time worrying about the morality issues or indeed the legal ramifications.
Quality not quantity
It is acknowledged by research that the most important phase of sleep for health benefits is the deep phase ‘slow-wave delta sleep’ it is apparent that quality of sleep is vital and if inadequate there will be a reduction in the volume of human growth hormone secreted, with negative consequences for running PB potential. So you don’t want occasional extra shallow sleep via napping at the desk, you need additional deep quality sleep, regularly.
Sleep for PB marathon victory
According to research from the Future Foundation for their health campaign ‘Sleep Well Live Well’ one in five people in the UK is not getting adequate sleep, and if this figure applies to runners preparing for the London Marathon, our LGN sleeping tip below could prove to be the easiest short cut to get to The Mall a tad quicker.
LGN’s top 10 tips:
- Instead of trying to create an instant sleeping revolution, just begin a gentle evolution by sleeping just 15mins earlier than usual, this alone could gain a valuable 3 hours+ extra sleep per week.
- Maintain a regular sleep & bed routine that includes the weekend
- Try to avoid finishing a run very close to intended bed time due to elevated adrenalin levels & stimulated nervous system
- Turn off or conceal any artificial lights (PC, alarm clock etc – these have been proven to interfere with sleep)
- Try not to watch TV news or films that might cause you stress heighten your senses prior to intended sleep time
- Invest in a good quality pillow, research has shown that medium – firm pillow can significantly improve sleep quality
- Avoid caffeinated drinks or heavy meals late in the evening
- Relax mind & body with milky drink and a bath before bedtime
- Avoid over-sleeping as this can perversely throw you out of your kipping rhythm
- Exclude exterior light from the bedroom – ‘blackout’ blinds can be very effective.
Happy running from all the team at LGN and good luck to all those aiming for this year's London Marathon.