Sleep may be the most overlooked skill for martial artists to develop, and make no mistake about it – sleep is a skill.
You need the discipline to wake up every day at the same time, but you need even more discipline to lay your head on the pillow at the same time every night.
Here are five ways proper sleep will help you as a martial artist.
#1 Sleep Maximizes Your Athletic Performance
If you want to be able to power through punches like ONE Super Series bantamweight standout Superlek Kiatmoo9, then you need quality sleep.
Quality sleep has a positive effect on both speed, reaction time, and accuracy. Needless to say, all of those things play a crucial role in your success as a martial artist.
Superlek believes adequate sleep also helps in other areas of performance.
“It is an important element that helps improve training and restores our body, thus making us stronger,” he says. “Adequate rest will increase power, endurance, and help with recovery.”
To create a good sleep routine that will help you fall asleep easier at nighttime, try to wind down with some relaxing activities like reading a book.
#2 Sleep Gives You More Energy
The number of hours you sleep has a direct effect on your performance as a martial artist, regardless if you are gunning for a World Championship or training just for fun.
Getting quality sleep ensures that you recover properly after hitting pads and replenishes your energy levels.
If you want to get more power behind your kicks or roll comfortably throughout the whole Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, then take a closer look at your sleep patterns and see if you can improve it.
Set up a routine where you go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. If you went extra hard during a sparring session or did a long run, then go to sleep a little bit earlier and give yourself some extra shut-eye.
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#3 Sleep Boosts Your Immune System
Martial artists are some of the toughest and most resilient athletes in the world. To be able to train for several hours a day, you need a healthy and strong body that can withstand grueling training sessions.
People who sleep seven hours or less are far more likely to get sick than those who sleep eight hours or more. If you constantly get sick and have to cancel your classes, a lack of sleep might be the issue.
A good sleep regime assures that your immune system stays up to par with your martial arts ambitions and keeps you strong week after week, month after month.
#4 Sleep Makes You A Better Training Partner
Poor sleep will not only affect your performance in the ring and in the gym, but it will also impact your overall mood. A lack of quality sleep makes you grumpy and unable to pick up on social cues.
Sovannahry “The Sweet Savage” Em knows all too well the effects of a poor night’s sleep.
“I definitely feel a difference from when I don’t get a good night’s sleep,” Em says. “The next day, I’m basically a zombie.”
On the other hand, if you get a good night’s sleep, you will be full of energy and ready to be the best training partner possible.
Em has a few tricks she uses to make sure she is well-rested and ready to hit the gym for her team.
“To improve on the quality [of my sleep], I try to avoid looking at any screens – phone, computer, tv screens – and opt to read a book before bed. I like to think that walking my dog 15 minutes before bed helps, too,” she adds.
#5 Sleep Helps Your Metabolism
Whether you join a kickboxing class to shed a few kilograms or you are making weight for your upcoming bout, a good night’s sleep will help you reach your goals. How? When you are rested, you tend to eat less and more healthily.
Insufficient sleep affects the hormones that regulate your appetite. This means when you do not sleep well, you will be more likely to snack on unhealthy treats.
Look at your sleep pattern the same way you view your training and diet. If you lack in any area, make adjustments so you can get proper rest.