How Important Is Sleep? Just Ask the San Francisco Giants… World Series Champions!

Recovery is the new buzzword in high performance. Gone are the days of “no pain, no gain”, today trainers and coaches use a wide array of statistical metrics to analyze how stressful training is the athletes body so they can ensure are ready for game day.

The term “physical preparedness” is used to describe when you are fully rested and ready to perform at your best. Ironically, despite all these advances many sports teams still go with the status quo… after a night game they take a late flight to the next town and get in around 300 or 400am. This places a heavy burden on your stress hormones and blunts deep, rejuvenative sleep.

The San Francisco Giants are ahead of the game (and it shows… they just won their 3rd World Series Championship in five years!) when it comes to “physical preparedness”. For the past four years, after consulting with sleep specialist Dr. Chris Winter, they decided to have players go home and get a “regular” nights rest in their own beds, then fly the next morning during the day.

Seems like a small change… but the impact was profound!

Sleep is absolutely critical for high performance, whether you’re an athlete or logging long hours at work. As you wind down to sleep at night, your sleep hormone melatonin increases. Several hours after you’ve fallen asleep, your body produces growth hormone (GH), which is critical for optimizing recovery and “building up the candle” that you’ve been burning at both ends. When players to late-night long haul flights, then don’t achieve the same level of deep sleep and GH production, limiting recovery. This adds up over a long season.

Take a lesson from the World Series Champions… prioritize sleep and your productivity at work and in the gym will improve dramatically!

Dr. Marc Bubbs ND, CISSN, CSCS


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