HomeCyclingHow Sleep Methods Have an effect on Efficiency

How Sleep Methods Have an effect on Efficiency

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


We’ve got all heard it sufficient occasions nevertheless it bears repeating as a result of it’s so elementary and so true: all of the laborious coaching you rigorously plan involves nothing with out high quality restoration that means that you can adapt to that stress. And presumably no restoration technique is extra vital that getting enough quantities of high quality sleep.

You should utilize all the flamboyant restoration devices in the marketplace and have one of the best dietary plans, however sleep is admittedly the time when restoration is ALL that the physique is doing. It’s bodily not operating 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 capabilities are being short-changed for those who minimize corners on sleep.

So earlier than we get into at this time’s examine, if there’s just one factor you care to deal with 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 area Olympic hopefuls previous to the Tokyo 2021 Olympics (Vitale et al. 2023). In addition they seemed on the efficacy of adopting improved sleep hygiene methods on sleep high quality. Whereas this isn’t a examine 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 a lot of the identical advantages. That is in contrast to testing particular efficiency interventions like dietary supplements and even coaching protocols.

How was this examine accomplished?

  • 16 (8 males/8 females) Italian Olympic-level observe and area athletes have 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 likewise actigraphy (a wearable that tracks movement). These displays are extra correct than the everyday business wearables well-liked with athletes. Be aware that the gold customary for sleep analysis is polysomnography, however this was not sensible since this requires a number of sensors and sleeping inside a sleep lab.
  • The measures included: 1) bedtime, 2) wakeup time, 3) complete sleep time, 4) sleep latency (how lengthy it takes to go to sleep, 5) sleep effectivity (complete 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 have been individualized and educated over 3 weeks.

Go Sleep On It

The principle outcomes of the examine have been as follows:

  • Feminine athletes tended to have higher sleep high quality and amount, earlier bedtime, and decrease nap frequency than males. The concept of intercourse variations in sleep high quality is attention-grabbing, with another research supporting this discovering. Whether or not this distinction is a social assemble or innate physiological variations stay unclear. Regardless, male athletes might need to particularly deal with enhancing 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. In addition they had earlier bedtimes and wakeup occasions. This could possibly be largely because of variations with coaching schedule. What does this imply for us? In the event you usually practice within the morning earlier than work, do NOT skimp on sleep however attempt to discover methods to get to mattress earlier. And for those who have a tendency to coach within the night, if in any respect doable 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 vital discovering is that even elite athletes can stand to enhance their recreation. At baseline, 3/18 have been categorized as poor sleepers, with low sleep effectivity and low precise sleep time of < 7 hours. That is consistent with different research monitoring sleep in high-level athletes, and once more reinforces how this can be a main supply of enchancment.

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


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

Have enjoyable and trip quick!



Vitale JA, Borghi S, Piacentini MF, et al (2023) To Sleep Dreaming Medals: Sleep Traits, Napping Conduct, and Sleep-Hygiene Methods in Elite Observe-and-Discipline 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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