Sleep is key to our performance!

It has to be one of the oldest excuses in the book: “I can’t train today because I’m tired” Isn’t it strange that when we are perhaps a little sleep deprived often the first thing that gets scratched off our list is our workout or making an effort with our food, the two components that fuel a healthy and happy life!
I personally believe that sleep is one of the key factors to performance and is something that is rarely taken seriously enough. People accept poor sleep, sporadic sleep, they often don’t know how much sleep they have and to a large extent there is little awareness about the importance of sleep to drive performance in life on the whole.
There is a lot of research available on sleep patterns as far as how the body works and organizations such as the sleep foundation have been set to address this huge topic. What I would like to do is highlight a few factors related to sleep which will help you in your performance.
Firstly the question of why sleep is important must be answered? There are a number of vital processes that take place in our body when we sleep, these are essential to life and to human beings functioning optimally and include: hormone production, immune function, stem cell renewal, appetite and gene regulation and memory and learning function. I am sure you would agree that these are all important processes that warrant serious attention.
The question of “How much sleep do I need” is also a big subject. As a guide we should be looking at between 7-8 hours a night. A number of people can seem to function on less than this whilst others need more, but this is based on a normal Circadian rhythm. I appreciate that its not always possible for whatever reason to hit between 7-8 hours per night every night and I have this issue myself and therefore what I do is set myself a target to sleep 54 hours per week (7days). I track this simply in Evernote and start my tracking on a Saturday night, then when I get to Thursday (the first night of my weekend) I add up my weeks sleep and can find out how much I need to sleep on Thursday and Friday to meet my weekly target.
If you are struggling getting good sleep then there are a few things you should address. The first is the darkness of your room, perhaps consider wearing eye shades, our eyes even when shut pick up the faintest of light so eye shades block this very well. Secondly you could look to use a white noise app to block any interference.
White noise
Another option for improved sleep would be some sort of pulsed electromagnetic therapy to amplify alpha and delta waves. I personally use Earth Pulse which I find great for recovery.
Just as important on the road
And finally there are a range of supplements that you could look at to aid with sleep. I have found success in coconut oil, gaba and magnesium as pre sleep supplements.
What you have to be aware of first and foremost is the importance of sleep levels to your performance, you then need to ensure that you are tracking sleep and getting good sleep. Once you master this you will notice a big difference in your performance not only in your workouts but also in other areas of your life.
InnerFight founder Marcus Smith is a high performance coach with a wide array of clients on all matters related to performance. For more information how he can help you increase your performance contact him direct at
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