The Science of Sleep

7 minute read · Issue Number 70 · May 28th, 2021

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Today, we’ll talk about something we spend a third of our lifetimes doing. No, I’m not talking about video games. Instead, let’s talk about sleep. What is it, how does it work, and what’s its relationship with sports & performance?

Let’s dive in!

The Science of Sleep

Sleep may be one of the most intriguing things about living beings.

Think about it — our bodies literally unplug from reality to recover and prepare us to perform the following day effectively.

Science has proven that sleep is essential for optimal health, performance and recovery.

The quantity and quality of our everyday sleep impact several physiological systems, and due to technological advances, we’re now able to measure and track it better than we ever did.


There are two types of sleep:

  • Rapid eye movement (REM)

  • Non-REM

Each type has two or three stages depending on brain activity (also known as wave frequencies).

Check out this interactive TED video that dives into each one of the stages of sleep:

During a single night’s sleep, REM, non-REM, and awake stages occur on multiple occasions throughout the night.

Our circadian rhythm is responsible for sleep-wake cycles and maintenance of homeostasis of bodily physiological functions.

There are dozens of human body systems that benefit from a good night’s sleep, such as the cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, and metabolic systems.

Sleep in Sports & Performance

Sleep is associated with concentration, memory, skill acquisition, and reaction times necessary for athletes to perform and prevent unnecessary injuries during training and competition.

Poor sleep practices can have a significant impact on athletes’ health and performance — if an athlete does not get enough high-quality sleep, it may translate to:

  • Delays in auditory and visual reaction time

  • Judgment errors and incoordination

  • Difficulties in perception, concentration, and cognition

  • Adrenaline insufficiency

  • Metabolism dysregulation and fatigue

  • Heart rate variability and poor cardiovascular endurance

  • Psychological depression

Additionally, lack of sleep increases the athletes’ vulnerability to specific injuries.

Ligaments and muscles are restored and healed during sleep — hence, sleep deprivation can cause recurrent tears and strains.

On the flip side, quality sleep enhances and speeds up recovery from injuries, helping athletes return quicker to sports and positively impacting performance.

The Takeaway

Sleep is an essential component of health and wellness, particularly in sports and performance.

Sleeping well (8—9 hours) improves multiple physiological systems that can enhance our life, prevent injuries, and improve our skills and abilities.

We should keep in mind the importance of sleep hygiene practices and focus on improving them to benefit our well-being.

🎙 Halftime Snack of the Week

Investing in Sports Technology

Bryan is the CEO of V1 Sports – the world leader in video swing analysis software to improve the performance of golfers.

Bryan also runs Opportunity Seed Capital – an entity that invests in sports and technology, offers consulting services, and takes an active role in society as a foundation that strives to help different communities.

This is probably my favorite conversation so far — Bryan is a living example, and I admire his values and devotion towards his mission in life.

We talked about habits, the strategy to take V1 Sports from good to great, investing in sports and technology through Opportunity Seed, giving back to the community, and so much more.

Listen on Apple | Spotify | Google


📰 New York Times in talks to buy The Athletic; The deal would help bolster the Times' subscription strategy, especially if it were to one day bundle its existing subscription offerings as a more significant offering.

🐦 Chelsea top Premier League club for Twitter engagements in 2020/21; Champions League finalists managed 56m engagements during the season.

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Until next week,

Ronen Ainbinder

Twitter: @Ronenain
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