Night nurse

The se­cret to stay­ing in­jury-free is in your dreams

Men's Fitness - - Trainer -

There’s a rea­son Team Sky hauls its own bed­ding around: it’s es­sen­tial to the mar­ginal gains that helped pro­pel Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome to the top of the Tour de France field – and now new US re­search has found sleep­ing soundly is also cru­cial to stay­ing in­jury-free.

The study found the num­ber of hours of sleep per night is a bet­ter pre­dic­tor of in­jury than time spent train­ing. When train­ing, peo­ple who get less than eight hours’ sleep a night are 1.7 times more likely to get in­jured than those who sleep longer. The likely cause is not get­ting enough non-REM sleep, a phase of deep slum­ber when the blood sup­ply to your mus­cles in­creases, de­liv­er­ing more nu­tri­ents to help them heal and grow – es­pe­cially af­ter stren­u­ous ex­er­cise.

Team man­ager Dave Brails­ford pre­scribes hy­poal­ler­genic mat­tresses in­stead of the po­ten­tially dust and mite-in­fested ho­tel beds, but there are nu­mer­ous apps and gad­gets that can boost your dose of nonREM sleep. Aura is a de­vice that emits or­ange light and sooth­ing fre­quen­cies to mimic your body’s cir­ca­dian rhythms (withings.com), but at nearly £200 you might need a pro ath­lete’s spon­sor­ship deal to get it. Al­ter­na­tively the app Sleep Ge­nius (sleep­ge­nius.com) will help you mon­i­tor your shut-eye for free.

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