What we love this week

Sleeping In: Extra ZZZs in the AM Benefit Motor Learning

by Meaghan posted October 3, 2017

As an educator, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading lately on learning – including morning learning – and I recently came across some interesting findings from the latest sleep research.

We’ve known for quite some time that sleep is important for physical recovery, cognitive function and motor unit firing – but it turns out there’s much more to it than that. In addition to sleeping in 90-minute cycles (read more HERE), it seems that motor learning, especially, is solidified in the hours just prior to waking. Retention of facts, etc. happens in the hours just after falling sleep, but it’s those last couple just prior to waking where sleep is lighter that seem to make or break improvement in motor skills.

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What does that mean for us? Well, most trainers are up quite early for work and may be missing out on the most precious sleep for maximizing certain types of training (e.g., Olympic lifting, gymnastics and other technical skills) if they don’t adjust by going to bed earlier. The same holds true for our clients, especially our newer trainees who are still trying to master basic movement patterns.

Bottom line: Make sure you and your clients don’t skimp on sleeping in! If you need to get up early, make sure you go to bed early as well so you don’t miss the most important phase of sleep for motor learning.

Filed under: exercise research, tips for trainers, What We Love This Week, workout tips

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