This is part 4 of our week long series exploring all the benefits a great night of sleep has on your athletic performance. Today we will explore the best sleep environment for athletes. Did you miss an earlier post? Find them all below:

Create the optimal sleeping environment by using bedding designed to help you sleep cooler and more comfortable throughout the night.

The Best Sleep Environment For Athletes

THE BEST SLEEP ENVIRONMENT FOR ATHLETES

When you compete you want it to be in the optimal environment, so why won’t this also be true for your bedroom? Not surprisingly, when you sleep in the optimal environment, you get a better, deeper sleep. Which in turn helps your body reap all the benefits a full night of sleep has on your athletic performance.

So what is the optimal sleep environment? Start with the temperature of your room. Researchers have found that playing with the thermostat, and your bedding, can make a big difference in your quality of sleep.

Studies have shown that a cooler room helps you fall asleep faster. This is due to that fact that throughout the day, your body temperature instinctively rises and falls. When you begin to fall asleep, your body naturally cools off. If you are able to speed up the cooling off process and reach a lower body temperature faster, it will become easier to fall asleep.

Sleep And Athletes

To reach peak athletic performance, athlete’s most focus on their sleeping environment.

Multiple studies back this claim, including one from the Center for Chronobiology in Switzerland. They found that a drop in your core temperature triggers your body to begin preparing for sleep.

Dr. Francesco Celi, chair of Virginia Commonwealth University’s division of endocrinology and metabolism, found that even a small reduction in bedroom temperature influences melatonin production, a chemical that helps you fall asleep.

Your rooms temperature and brown fat

Although brown fat doesn’t sound healthy, it actually helps your body burn calories and dispose of excess blood sugar, two factors that can affect your athletic performance. A cool room could also induce calorie-burn by increasing your stores of brown fat.  In fact, Dr. Celi found that men who spent a month sleeping in a 66 degree room increased their stores of metabolically active brown fat.

People with more brown fat have a faster metabolism, better blood sugar control, and higher insulin sensitivity.

The Release of HGH

Your room’s temperature can also affect the amount of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) your body releases. Sleeping in conditions above 70 degrees will inhibit your body from cooling down naturally. When your body doesn’t cool down naturally, it won’t trigger the body to produce elevated levels of HGH; which is crucial to helping your muscles recover.

These studies make it seem pretty clear; If you want a better and healthier night of sleep, you should turn down the thermostat. Unfortunately, it isn’t so straightforward.

Athlete Sleep
Athlete's Need Sleep
Why You Should Nap

In Celi’s brown fat experiment, the men slept under thin sheets and were prone to shivering. All that shivering might be beneficial to the production of brown fat, but it’s not going to help you reach a deep sleep.

A full, uninterrupted night of sleep will lead to a greater performance on the field and is more important to your athletic performance than an excess production of brown fat. The trick is to keep your room cool so you fall asleep easier, but not so cold where you wake up frequently during the night.

What experts suggest, is to focus on your body temperature as opposed to the room’s temperature. The most important thing to do is keep your skin temperature “comfortable”. Most sleepers can relate to having to push the covers off in order to fall asleep, only to pull them back on after waking up during the middle of the night shivering.  As a result, you need to focus on your bedding and the role it plays on your body temperature. Surround yourself with bedding that is specifically designed to help regulate your temperature to keep you from becoming too hot or too cold.

Join us tomorrow as we give you a few more reasons to schedule a nap into your daily routine.