The above is a recording of a short lecture by Biomedical doctor, sleep specialist and former Navy SEAL Dr Kirk Parsley.
We’ve all been lectured before about the importance of sleep, but there are some alarming statistics included in Dr Parsley’s short speech. Adequate and good-quality sleep is essential for a range of optimal functions including maintaining healthy hormone levels (and that directly impacts on libido, sexual function and fertility), healthy body composition, insulin sensitivity and the consolidation of learned motor skills.
That last part has particular relevance to any athlete, elite or recreational. What it means is that you need good quality sleep – and enough of it – in order to let your brain rehearse new movements that you’ve learned during the day so that it can consolidate them into long-term memory – what we normally refer to as “muscle memory.” So if you routinely sacrifice sleep as a time-management strategy, you’re literally robbing yourself of a lot of the gains in motor skills that you’re trying to gain during practice.