Is there a correlation between sleep requirements & fitness?

General discussions about getting and staying fit that don't relate directly to your indoor rower

Is there a correlation between sleep requirements & fitness?

Postby Gammmmo » August 2nd, 2016, 3:08 am

I'd be interested on people's take on this forum as to the above question. Ignoring the fact that you may be more tired at times from training, *in general* as your fitness has changed over time have you felt a fluctuation in how much sleep you need? In his book "Fit Body, Fit Mind", the multiple Ironman World Champion Mark Allen said he noticed as he got fitter he needed less sleep. Another example...I read that when the actor Matthew McConaughey lost lots of weight for a film he did, he found he needed much less sleep.
45M, 5'11", 71kg, ex bike time trialler, SBs - 18:06(5K), 8108m(30mins), 37:18(10K), 15826m(1hr), 1:21:41(HM)
Targets: sub 18(5K), sub 37(10K), >8150m
PBs: 6:44(2K), 18:02(5K), 8120m(30mins), 37:18(10K), 15826m(1hr), 1:21:41(HM)

Erg on!
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Re: Is there a correlation between sleep requirements & fitn

Postby Pie Man » August 2nd, 2016, 5:15 am

For me it's gone in the opposite direction. So before I started exercising at the gym I struggled to get to sleep, so I tended to stay up tell 12:30/1:00am and then sleep tell 6:30/7. Once asleep I was fine but falling asleep was the problem. Six months into going to the gym 4+ times a week and I tend to go to sleep before midnight most nights, sleep well and get up around 6:30/7 for work.
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Re: Is there a correlation between sleep requirements & fitn

Postby mdpfirrman » August 2nd, 2016, 8:30 am

I protect my sleep. I get 8 hours a night all the time. Quality of sleep I think is very important. People need to put their computers and tablets down at night or get a blue light filter app to get better sleep.
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Re: Is there a correlation between sleep requirements & fitn

Postby ElinViking » August 2nd, 2016, 2:25 pm

As someone who has dealt with a lifetime of sleep issues along with a variety of states of fitness, I've found that in my case, there's a direct correlation between fitness activity and sleep quality. The last 3 years, I've been dealing with some personal issues that have basically kept me sedentary, and during this time, I don't manage to fall asleep most nights until 1am or later, even if I'm tired. I end up with 6 hours of sleep or so most nights, then crash on a weekend and sleep til noon. So, recently I decided to get back to regular exercise and get my fitness level back to where it should be and have already noticed (over the span of a month) a big improvement in my ability to sleep at an earlier time, and the quality of sleep is much better. Exercise helps! Of course, everyone's body responds differently.
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Re: Is there a correlation between sleep requirements & fitn

Postby Edward4492 » August 2nd, 2016, 3:09 pm

Mike, dead on. I've gotten in the habit of reading (a book, the old fashioned way) and get a solid 7 hours a night. Lots of elite level athletes get close to 12 hours a day including naps.Best performance enhancer you can get.....sleep.
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Re: Is there a correlation between sleep requirements & fitn

Postby Gammmmo » August 2nd, 2016, 4:03 pm

As an aside from the original question, I'd like to add that I currently do a job which sees me setting my alarm for 435am. I'll be honest and say it worried me what the impact would be on competitive sport and training. But...I will say this was unfounded *as long as* I go to bed around 930pm-945pm AND I nap for 30mins or so in the day when I feel like it, whereupon I am well finished my part time job. It's been fine. Now, proper night shifts are allegedly a different kettle of fish altogether.

I would agree that proper sleep is imperative but the odd bad night of sleep (this was normal with bike racing the night before and invariably meaning an early start) should not be used as an excuse for poor performance. Now, cumulatively bad sleep is bad.
45M, 5'11", 71kg, ex bike time trialler, SBs - 18:06(5K), 8108m(30mins), 37:18(10K), 15826m(1hr), 1:21:41(HM)
Targets: sub 18(5K), sub 37(10K), >8150m
PBs: 6:44(2K), 18:02(5K), 8120m(30mins), 37:18(10K), 15826m(1hr), 1:21:41(HM)

Erg on!
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Re: Is there a correlation between sleep requirements & fitn

Postby Carl Watts » August 2nd, 2016, 5:42 pm

Sleep is very important for recovery and performance.

Just had my rowing buddy buy one of those new watches that tracks everything and it tells you how much rest you need. If you don't get the required rest it accumulates the time and its starting to throw some pretty high hours at him so now he has stopped the Erg in the evenings as apparently the OTW in the mornings is as much as he can handle.
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Re: Is there a correlation between sleep requirements & fitn

Postby lindsayh » August 3rd, 2016, 12:16 am

I don't think there is any doubt that there is a strong correlation between sleep times and athletic performance and the more the better. I think there was a pretty good study with NCAA level basketball players that looked at sleep length and results - the guys getting 9 hours did better that the guys getting 8.
Beyond that it is certain that for general health even without being in training many people are sleep deprived and that 7.5h+ is needed for good health.
Disruption of circadian rhythms is a very negative effect on health.
Power naps are a very powerful tool for those who cant get enough at night (though beware of messing with ultradian rhythms as well!!).
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Re: Is there a correlation between sleep requirements & fitn

Postby Gammmmo » August 3rd, 2016, 2:39 am

lindsayh wrote:Disruption of circadian rhythms is a very negative effect on health.
Power naps are a very powerful tool for those who cant get enough at night (though beware of messing with ultradian rhythms as well!!).

Yes, this. It is actually possible that not oversleeping at night and power napping in the day is the ideal. I believe as humans we are pre-disposed to sleeping twice a day with the second sleep ideally being in the afternoon i.e. that post lunch 'lull'. I am one of those people thankfully who can go to sleep 9 times out of 10 at will.

I think the original question I posed is subtely different from asking whether more sleep is better. I suppose I'm interested in the effects of making one physically fitter and improving the body - and whether the body is theb better able to deal with day to day life thus REQUIRING less sleep, as per the two examples I cited in the opening post.
45M, 5'11", 71kg, ex bike time trialler, SBs - 18:06(5K), 8108m(30mins), 37:18(10K), 15826m(1hr), 1:21:41(HM)
Targets: sub 18(5K), sub 37(10K), >8150m
PBs: 6:44(2K), 18:02(5K), 8120m(30mins), 37:18(10K), 15826m(1hr), 1:21:41(HM)

Erg on!
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Re: Is there a correlation between sleep requirements & fitn

Postby GateDad » August 3rd, 2016, 11:21 am

You know, consistent exercise provides me with better sleep and I fall asleep faster too. I imagine that there are a few people out there who get different results, but this is pretty typical. What I have learned is that not getting enough rest contributes to weight gain and/or makes losing weight harder. There have been some quality studies done showing a correlation between too little sleep and fat retention. In fact, I recall the case of a couple that were both trying to lose excess fat with dieting and exercising. One of the couple did quite well, not having to wake so early in the morning. The other's job required very early wake ups and this person failed to lose a single pound in a month. Once the lack of sleep was pointed out, he made a conscious effort to sleep 8-9 hours per night. Immediately he saw dramatic results. Morale of the story is that sleep or lack of it can and will affect your body's ability to lose excess fat.
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Re: Is there a correlation between sleep requirements & fitn

Postby JoDon » August 17th, 2016, 9:38 am

Sleep is important - fit or not. I have had sleep issues most of my life, and have found that when I am exercising regularly I sleep much better. I fall asleep quicker, and stay asleep through the night. I haven't read much about this, so I don't have any studies to base it on. Just personal experience.
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Re: Is there a correlation between sleep requirements & fitn

Postby Oldcolonial » November 8th, 2016, 10:17 am

Sleep is awesome. Love it, do it just about every day.
I have found that I sleep best if Ido just the right amount of exercise. Too much volume and or intensity or too little and I don't sleep well. For me the best nights of sleep come after a day that starts with a light workout and is filled with a big day of recreational skiing or surfing. The later seem to stimulate the mind as much as the body.

I have found fitness to be less of a determinant than the quantity and intensity of exercise.
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