We all know (I hope) how important adequate sleep is for our recovery, and ensuring that we are able to improve and adapt from our training.
But it is also a very important factor in our performance and injury prevention.
A recent study (Mah et al., 2019) looked at the effects of Sleep Deprivation (4hrs) over 3 days on maximal jump performance and joint coordination.
When testing vertical jump following Sleep Deprivation, participants saw a significant decrease in vertical jump height of almost 2cm on average. While this only sounds like a small change, with many of us competing in sports like athletics, we know that 2cm can make a big difference.
(To put into perspective, a 2cm difference in vertical jump testing could determine whether a player is drafted to a professional sporting team or not)
The other aspect of the trial was the effect of SD on knee and hip joint coordination.
To our gym members and those completing strength programs currently, we regularly touch on our hip and knee control to reduce the likelihood of various injuries, while performing exercises that put us in the best positions to increase our performance and efficiency.
The effects of SD saw an increase of over 10 degrees in both hip and knee coordination variability paired with a decrease in response time.
If an effect this large is evident in a single movement test such as a vertical jump test, we can only imagine the effects this could have on our run technique over 10 or 20km when further fatigued.
We can do everything possible strength wise to ensure our bodies capacity to perform tasks correctly, but if we are unable to coordinate efficiently, our strength will not be utilised and we remain at a higher risk for injury.
Mah, C., Sparks, A., Samaan, M., Souza, R. and Luke, A., 2019. Sleep restriction impairs maximal jump performance and joint coordination in elite athletes. Journal of Sports Sciences, 37(17), pp.1981-1988.
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