"Sleep is the price we pay to learn", Giulio Tononi of the University of Madison in Wisconsin summed up at a congress of the Federation of the Neuroscience Societies. And in a way, it also serves the body to "forget" the small traumas of the day: GH, the growth hormone that the body produces while sleeping, is essential to regenerate and repair the tissues of muscles, tendons and cartilage subjected to wear and physical stress. As Matt Walker of the University of Berkeley recently wrote in New Scientist, "there is nobody tissue or brain process that is not improved by sleep or that is not affected by lack of rest".
Sleeping well with a personal sleep coach
One of the first to draw attention to the importance of quality of sleep, which was not to be considered an interruption in sports training but, on the contrary, a fundamental part of it. Nick Littlehales was hired by the Manchester United coach of the time, Alex Ferguson, and actually managed to help the rehabilitation of defender Gary Pallister, who had suffered a bad back injury. If it is as old as the world the awareness that everyone and athletes are no exception, perform better after a good night's sleep. In recent years the approach to the issue has become increasingly systematic and scientific (several studies on sleep deprivation among athletes have found that the content of muscle glycogen is greatly reduced, along with sprint times and vertical jumping improved).
Siesta is a traditional break in many countries, especially those with hot climates, and Littlehales noticed this when he went to Spain as a technical advisor to Real Madrid. Not only that, but foods high in carbohydrates typical of Mediterranean countries promote the onset and need for sleep, increasing brain levels of tryptophan.
The keyword for good rest: timing
We think timing is an art but it's actually a science.