How much sleep do you get each night while training? How much sleep do you think is needed while training? I will hopefully answer these questions, and give you some insight into why sleep is so important. According to the National Sleep Foundation normal adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. From studies they have done they reccomend that athletes get an extra hour of sleep each day. A nap can count for this extra hour.
Sleep has an effect on glycogen storage. Glycogen is essentially sugar that is stored in the muscles. Glycogen is needed during endurance events to help produce ATP. Sleep also plays a roll in reaction time and the ability to make on the spot decisions. Bike racing requires very quick reactions and the ability to make decisions quickly.
Studies have shown that lack of sleep can increase cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can slow down healing and lowers the level of growth hormone, a hormone that is needed to help repair the body after intense exercise.
Sleep is clearly important and it can be hard to get enough on a reqular basis. Be sure to set a regular schedule and try to stick to it as closely as possible. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption and limit caffine intake as these can reduce the amount of REM sleep that is accumulated each night. Try to get sleep naturally without medication (unless a doctor has prescribed it). Sleep medications can make it hard to get into a natural sleep pattern and can have the same effect as alcohol or caffine. Take your training to the next level, get enough sleep each night!