The noon crew.
We have all seen CrossFit's hierarchy of fitness. Nutrition sits on the bottom and sport is at the top. Theidea of this model is that you can not attain optimum performance at any of the levels unless you have dialed in all the levels below it. I would like to add a level at the bottom of the pyramid called "sleep." We've touched on it before in reference to a post by KStar and I was just reminded of it after reading an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal.
There are two crucial phases of sleep. REM is the phase in which our brain consolidates memories and processes things we learn. It is key for improving and maintaining coordination, agility, balance and accuracy in our training (i.e. when all that handstand practice pays off). Slow wave sleep is the phase in which physical recovery occurs. This is crucial for building strength, endurance, stamina and flexibility, or basic muscle recovery and growth. Basically these phases of sleep are imperative for increasing power and speed.
Quality sleep is even more important than nutrition, because your body has a hard time staying on a nutrition plan and/or reaping the benefits of said plan if you are not getting enough sleep. Chronic inadequate sleep impairs cognitive function, memory and the immune system. It changes the body's metabolism, making people eat more and feel less satisfied, and is associated with increased inuslin resistance.
Now for the scary part, many of us are not getting the quality sleep that we think we are. Perception of time and memory is often distorted in the middle of the night, so you may be awake for long stretches of the night without realizing or remebering. Do you pride yourself on being able to fall asleep anytime, anywhere? That means your not getting enough sleep. Do you have trouble waking up, or feel sleepy at anytime throughout the day? That means you don't get enough good sleep! Do you have mood swings, a bad memory or a chronic need for caffeine? Tsk, tsk, not enough sleep!