Photo: Sigfrid Eggers

Sleep and effect on triathlon performance

It is not a big secret that sleep is the key to unlocking your best performance in triathlon. Seriously, runners don’t get faster during interval training. Triathletes don’t get stronger while doing hill repeats on your bike. Swimmers don’t improve endurance-wise during 30×100 repeats. It happens when you sleep. Stress, recovery, adaptation, repeat. It is not a secret, but most athletes tend to overtrain and feel guilty when they take a day off.

So here is some science from the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine to back it up. Ninety-eight elite athletes were studied on three non-consecutive nights within a 7-day monitoring period.

No time to read since you need to get that after work run in? Here are some key points:

  • Average sleep duration: 7h30m ± 1h05m.
  • Duration and quality of sleep affect psychomotor vigilance a bit more, then it affects athletic performance.
  • There is a clear connection between the duration/quality of sleep and performance. Better quality = better performance.
  • Accumulated sleep debt is detrimental to performance and recovery.
  • One sleepless night has no adverse effect on performance.

Have a good night!






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