HomeCyclingDreaming of Gold – Sleep & Efficiency

Dreaming of Gold – Sleep & Efficiency

The low season is the proper time to reset and recalibrate ourselves for higher habits that may set us up for larger well being and efficiency in 2024. A elementary behavior is ample high quality sleep. How did elite observe and subject athletes strategy sleep previous to the Tokyo Olympics?


We have now all heard it sufficient instances however it bears repeating as a result of it’s so elementary and so true: all of the exhausting coaching you rigorously plan involves nothing with out high quality restoration that means that you can adapt to that stress. And probably no restoration technique is extra essential that getting ample quantities of high quality sleep.

You should use all the flowery restoration devices available on the market and have the perfect dietary plans, however sleep is basically the time when restoration is ALL that the physique is doing. It’s bodily not working round cleansing the home, chasing the youngsters, or strolling the canine. Mentally it’s consolidating your psychological exercise and reminiscence. Hormonally development hormone is being launched to facilitate bodily restoration and adaptation. All of those and lots of extra essential features are being short-changed should you reduce corners on sleep.

So earlier than we get into right now’s examine, if there’s just one factor you care to concentrate on this low season, I recommend that or not it’s optimizing each the amount and high quality of sleep.

Vitale et al. 2023

An Italian group explored the sleep and nap methods of Italian observe and subject Olympic hopefuls previous to the Tokyo 2021 Olympics (Vitale et al. 2023). Additionally they seemed on the efficacy of adopting improved sleep hygiene methods on sleep high quality. Whereas this isn’t a on cyclists, it’s all the time instructive to discover the habits of elite athletes. That is very true for one thing like sleep, the place much less elite athletes can undertake the very same methods and sure reap many of the similar advantages. That is not like testing particular efficiency interventions like dietary supplements and even coaching protocols.

How was this examine finished?

  • 16 (8 males/8 females) Italian Olympic-level observe and subject athletes had been examined at: 1) Preseason, 2) in the course of the in-season interval, and three) after adopting individualized sleep hygiene methods (I’ll have a future article all about optimizing sleep hygiene).
  • Sleep was recorded utilizing diaries and in addition actigraphy (a wearable that tracks movement). These screens are extra correct than the standard industrial wearables widespread with athletes. Be aware that the gold commonplace for sleep analysis is polysomnography, however this was not sensible since this requires a whole lot of sensors and sleeping inside a sleep lab.
  • The measures included: 1) bedtime, 2) wakeup time, 3) whole sleep time, 4) sleep latency (how lengthy it takes to go to sleep, 5) sleep effectivity (whole sleep time as a share of mattress time), 6) Wake After Sleep Onset (period of time awake after sleep is initiated), 7) subjective sleep high quality. Every athlete had no less than 10 nights measured within the preseason and in-season.
  • Once more, I’ll discuss extra about sleep hygiene one other time, however these had been individualized and skilled over 3 weeks.

Go Sleep On It

The principle outcomes of the examine had been as follows

  • Feminine athletes tended to have higher sleep high quality and amount, earlier bedtime, and decrease nap frequency than males. The thought of intercourse variations in sleep high quality is fascinating, with another research supporting this discovering. Whether or not this distinction is a social assemble or innate physiological variations stay unclear. Regardless, male athletes could need to particularly concentrate on bettering and rising their sleep.
  • Lengthy-distance athletes had increased nap frequency however decrease sleep high quality than athletes in short-duration or power-based disciplines. Additionally they had earlier bedtimes and wakeup instances. This might be largely attributable to variations with coaching schedule. What does this imply for us? For those who usually practice within the morning earlier than work, do NOT skimp on sleep however attempt to discover methods to get to mattress earlier. And should you have a tendency to coach within the night, if in any respect potential attempt to keep away from an early begin to your day.
  • Sleep hygiene methods elevated sleep amount and shortened sleep onset latency, however had no impact on sleep effectivity.

One essential discovering is that even elite athletes can stand to enhance their sport. At baseline, 3/18 had been categorized as poor sleepers, with low sleep effectivity and low precise sleep time of < 7 hours. That is in keeping with different research monitoring sleep in high-level athletes, and once more reinforces how it is a main supply of enchancment.

Napping was a well-liked technique amongst the examine contributors, with about 1/3 of tracked days that includes a nap of 47-48 minutes, beginning roughly round 1430h. Napping was extra widespread in males and in long-distance athletes. These patterns had been secure throughout each the baseline and the sleep hygiene coaching phases.


Hopefully this text didn’t put you to sleep, however slightly piqued your curiosity about the advantages of specializing in sleep as a approach to enhance each your efficiency and your general well being. Within the coming months I’ll discover the subject of sleep in additional element!

Have enjoyable and experience quick!



Vitale JA, Borghi S, Piacentini MF, et al (2023) To Sleep Dreaming Medals: Sleep Traits, Napping Habits, and Sleep-Hygiene Methods in Elite Monitor-and-Area Athletes Going through the Olympic Video games of Tokyo 2021. Worldwide Journal of Sports activities Physiology and Efficiency 18:1412–1419. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2023-0144


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