Americans Get Physical After A Good Night In Bed

Armen Hareyan's picture
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While weary, overextended Americans are turning to "quick fixes" like caffeine and performance-enhancing supplements, which claim to improve everything from their daily workout to their sex lives, they are losing sight of what experts say is essential to improved performance: a good night's sleep.

According to the 2008 Better Sleep Month (BSM) national survey, sponsored by the Better Sleep Council (BSC), those respondents getting nine hours of sleep or more are more likely to engage in higher-intensity workouts, including biking, running and/or weight lifting. Yet an alarming seven in 10 (70 percent) report that they are not getting the recommended amount of sleep needed each night (7 1/2 hours or more) to perform at their best each day.

"Sleep deprivation impacts us physically, which can negatively affect our coordination, agility, mood and energy," says Dr. Bert Jacobson, professor and head of the School of Educational Studies at Oklahoma State University (OSU) and the lead author of the new study Grouped Comparisons of Sleep Quality for New and Personal Bedding Systems. "Research shows that sleeping better and longer leads to improvements in athletic performance, including faster sprint time, better endurance, lower heart rate, and even improved mood and higher levels of energy during a workout."

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One out of three survey respondents agrees, stating that the best thing about getting a good night's sleep is improved physical performance. However, the BSC explains that better sleep and/or improved physical performance is not just a result of getting one extra hour of sleep a night. "Getting a better night's sleep is about making a larger investment in sleep overall, including taking a closer look at your sleep surface and surroundings. Improving sleep quality is just as important as quantity," adds Dr. Jacobson.

A New Mattress Does a Body Good

The survey also reveals that respondents who report getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night (7.5 hours is optimal) are more likely to be sleeping on a newer mattress (one to four years old). Additionally, findings reveal that those sleeping on a newer mattress are significantly more likely to engage in physical activities than those who sleep on older mattresses:

Type of Physical Activity - Newer Mattress (one - four years old) - Older Mattress (eight -10 years old)

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