Hey packlings 👋
Let’s take a look back at the top 5 biggest sleep and fitness stories of 2023. From groundbreaking research to athletes across the globe pushing the limit on rest and recovery, this was an incredible year for those looking to optimize their sleep.
🚴 You win the Tour de France in your bed
Team Jumbo-Visma has won the Tour de France in 2022 and 2023, and with some absolute rockstars on their roster like Jonas Vingegaard and Wout Van Aert, it’s safe to say they’re at the top of professional cycling. In this high-stakes endurance sport, sleep is just as critical as training and nutrition, and Team Jumbo-Visma, competing in prestigious races throughout the year like the Tour, the Giro d’Italia, and the Vuelta de Espana , has found a unique edge in ensuring optimal rest for its athletes. They've partnered with a European sleep brand for eight years, and bring a personalized sleep solution to every race - including tailored sleep advice to each rider's physique and habits, and equipping hotel rooms with special mattresses, pillows, duvets, bed linen, air conditioning, and blackout curtains. This meticulous approach to sleep hygiene is based on the philosophy that top-notch sleep is essential for recovery, cognitive function, and overall performance. Embracing the mantra "You win the Tour in your bed," Team Jumbo-Visma demonstrated this year the profound impact of quality sleep on athletic success.
🧠 Insufficient sleep negates benefits of exercise for the brain
Exercise is at the top of the list for things you can do to improve your overall health with benefits ranging from preventing chronic disease, lengthening lifespan, warding off cognitive decline, and much more. A new study, highlighted by CNN, found that getting (or not getting) proper sleep can actually have an even greater impact on mental health than exercise does. Researchers discovered people with more frequent, higher-intensity physical activity who slept less than six hours a night on average had faster overall cognitive decline than short sleepers who exercised infrequently - suggesting that sufficient sleep is required to get the full mental benefits of exercise. Researchers followed nearly 9,000 adults for over 10 years and found that highly active people in their 50s and 60s who slept on average less than six hours a night lost the advantage that exercise provided. As lead author Dr. Mikaela Bloomberg, said “It shows how important it is to consider sleep and physical activity together when thinking about cognitive health.” With 2024 just around the corner - how can you prioritize balancing sufficient exercise and proper sleep?
⛰️ How well do you sleep after an ultramarathon?
According to a recent study featured this year in Trail Runner Magazine, it can take several days for ultramarathon runners to get their sleep back to normal after a race. The study was published in the Journal of Science in Sport and Exercise, and looked at 19 athletes that competed in the 106 mile UTMB race, which goes around Mont Blanc, includes nearly 33,000 feet of elevation gain and loss and takes most runners between 20 and 46 hours to complete. While it’s no surprise that there was extreme sleep deprivation during the race, additionally the combination of sleep deprivation and the demanding nature of the race took a heavy toll on athletes’ physical and psychological well-being for several days after the event. Specifically, there was more fragmented sleep due to muscle soreness, which caused a prolonged decline in sleep quality. Also, unlike what’s typically seen after normal workouts or races, these athletes did not see a “sleep rebound” - i.e. a significant increase in sleep duration or improvement in sleep quality immediately following the race. Again, this was likely due to the fact that their sore bodies were causing them to wake up more frequently.
😤 The most common causes of poor sleep in 2023
Back in June, Gallup published their 2023 U.S. state of sleep report which had some super insightful nuggets about Americans sleeping habits. One of the most interesting facts was how Americans ranked the causes of a poor night’s sleep, including: needing to use the bathroom (43%); physical discomfort like illness or trouble breathing (29%) and being too hot (22%). If you’re in the latter camp, and looking for a pillow to help regulate your body temperature, check out the Otter pillow - which utilizes gel-infused shredded memory foam to help pull heat away from the body throughout the night. However, there may be hope for brighter things to come in 2024, as 55% of Americans said they consider getting a good night’s sleep a major priority.
🏈 NFL’s 49ers lead the League in sleep
The 49ers are having a storybook NFL season, having already clinched a playoff berth and the NFC West division. Recently the Athletic highlighted how optimal recovery has been a secret weapon on their roster. Quarterback Brock Purdy, famously snagged as the last pick in the 2022 NFL draft and a candidate for MVP this season, went from 7 to 9 hours of shut-eye per night this season which he credits for helping him bounce back quickly from a serious elbow injury earlier in season. It's not just Purdy, though - the whole 49ers squad is in on this sleep & recovery revolution. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk, does twice-daily red light therapy sessions and George Kittle is using a cold plunge from Michael Phelps. But most infamously there’s Nick Bosa, the undisputed king of sleep, clocking a royal 11.5 hours before the team’s Week 10 matchup vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars. So as we head into the playoffs in a few weeks, it’s good advice to not sleep on the Niners!
That's a wrap on the sleep & fitness news for 2023. Thanks so much for following along! Remember to follow @lagoonsleep on Instagram for your daily dose of sleep & fitness news and entertainment.