The importance of sleep

I was away on a course at the weekend and boy did I miss my own bed! The course itself was amazing, return to play protocols for the lower limb if you are interested, but one of the things it highlighted was the effect of a lack of sleep has on performance.


There was the classic first night in a new place when I got down there so I was a bit tired on the first day. Not too bad and the fact that the course a half and half mix of theory and practical work so we spent the afternoons in the gym.

That night we went out for a couple of drinks at the Irish Centre in Huddersfield, which was very Pheonix Nights, to say the least. That coupled with the room being far too hot meaning another poor nights sleep.

Sunday morning was ok though. We recapped the previous day’s material and got moving around quite quickly, and there was coffee, so all was good.

In the afternoon we went back to the gym to go over frontal and transverse plane progressions. Basically, moving sideways and turning.

Complex movements and fatigue are not good bedfellows 🙂

I found myself in a position where movements that would normally be fine seemed like the most challenging things I’ve done in years. There was much stumbling and tumbling, plus I scraped my shin up a box! (I knew there was a reason I didn’t buy a wooden one for the clinic).

All of this was at the end of a busy week at work and training so it would have been a challenging weekend anyway but eh lack of sleep was a killer.

Less than 6 hours sleep will see a drop in performance of 10-30% and if it happens consistently you can expect more.

This isn’t simply about how fast you can run or how much you can lift. Your concentration will suffer and all cognitive functions will be worse.

Everyone thinks that training is the most important thing but it is in many ways secondary to actually being able to recover from it. You can apply all the stimulus in the world for adaptation to occur but if you don’t create an environment for the adaptation to happen you have wasted your time.

The time when you are sleeping is when the hard work of recovery takes place. It is when the body really gets down to rebuilding and repairing any damage accumulated during the day’s activities.

One of the best things that you can do to help ensure you get a good nights sleep is to have regular times that you go to bed and get up. So no more late nights or lie-ins, well within reason.

Doing this allows you to develop a routine where having set a time to go to bed, you will start to feel tired as it approaches and find that you stop needing an alarm to wake up.

Another thing to do to help with getting to sleep is to switch off your phone at least 30 min before bed, no computers/tablets either. The blue light from the screen is not great for you in terms of making it easy to drop off.

You could do well to actually reduce the lighting, in general, an hour or so before bed as this helps stimulate the various hormones that help you get to sleep.

Finally, no green or blue light in the bedroom

Your challenge this week is to go to bed at the same time every night and implement a couple of the other suggestions too.

Let me know how you get on.

If you would like to have a chat about any goals or injuries you may have or how to adjust your training in relation to it,  you can arrange a free phone call. or click on this one if you’d like to enquire about an appointment.

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