T Nation

Sleep and Recovery for Combat Athletes

how many sleep do you get or do you plan to have?

I have a very demanding job and i only get 7 hour sleep if i train every evening in the gym and get home at nine o clock. Sometimes i get up after 6 hours of sleep to do intervals, plyos or do some roadwork.

Does that make sense ? Reduce sleep to increase the workload ?

How do you guys and girls handle the sleep recovery?

Ironic that this is the first thread I read, as I just slept 11 hours after a hard wrestling workout. I can’t say that I don’t feel it to be a massive help.

Actually i dont know. All the Bodybuilding articles here they make me feel i get the hormone production of a 5 year old boy when i sleep less then 8 hours.

In reality who has time to do that? Time to have a career, have a girlfriend, train like an animal an sleep for 8 hours. Thats ridiculous…

I think more workload helps more than sleep an extra hour. But i want to gain from your experiences…

At home I usually get around 6-7 hours a night, sometimes 5 if work messes me up.

Earlier this year I was on vacation, sleeping at least 10 hours a night, My body and overall condition improved drastically. I was doing roadwork in the glaring sun like it was nothing, all because of the rest I was getting.
recovery is more important to fighters than anyone else.

I have to agree with fists. When school rolls around I average 6 hours of sleep between school, work, my girlfriend, a little afternoon down time, and training. That being said, let me tell you that sleeping almost 10 or 11 hours a day this summer has been AMAZING! When I’m striking or grappling, I have the mental awareness to think ahead, to work what I want to, and I don’t make nearly as many stupid mistakes while holding pads, or teaching someone something.

It all seems to come together more smoothly. Also, and no less important, is how fresh and recovered i feel. There have been few times where i just feel “too exhausted” to kick the pads.

My opnion: Bodybuilders think sleep is important for growth and recovery that is provided to you via your body’s natural production of such hormones while in a deep sleep cycle. I think sleep is important to fighters (who train harder, and longer) for recovery both mentally and physically. If you’re so tired you cant keep your eyes open and jaw shut, somebody’s going to put you down.

Basically I echo what Beer and Fists say. But I relate to you on the work/training schedule deal. And this month is going to be the worst yet.

If your not getting the most sleep try to get the most out of it. ZMA, GABA, whichever you normally do. I ususally do the ZMA, up my antioxidants, try to get more of my carbs from citrus fruits, and then just try to up my BCAA.

I have to say the Rhodiola Rosea and Surge have really helped in times like this, especially the Rhodiola Rosea.

But ultimately nothing can replace sleep. You may want to use a sick day and just sleep. One day can’t make up for weeks of abuse, but it will help your sanity in the long run.

my .02

i totally agree with you, although i still dont know what is the better solution. Try to sleep consistently 7 hours straight, or get up 2-3 times per week after six hours to do roadwork ?

If your not getting paid for it, cycle it. a month or so with little to no sleep but alot of training, then a month with more rest. The important part is to not get caught up in the high from training and forget that month of recovery.

If bootcamp and seals can do it I’m sure you can.

i dunno…i pick sleep over an extra conditioning workout. but i also don’t have access to MMA/BJJ every day of the week, so i can theoritcally train 5 days, and have 2 for conditioning. my issue is that i’m a police officer and i work nights, so i’m not willing to go short on sleep, since my life kinda depends on being alert… but even still, regardless of your job, you still wanna perfrom well, and don’t want to be tired during the day.

i guess one option would be to try and fit in a mini-wrokout during your lunchbreak if possible, or ride a bicycle to work/gym for extra cardio. i assume you compete at an amateuer level, otherwise it wouldn’t matter for the extra training…

but the other idea to cycle prior to an event is also great advice.

good luck.

I get about 6 hrs sleep a night, wish I could get more but with work, training after work or before work and a young daughter it is not likely.

From what I have read the 8 hrs thing is an average or approximation. What you need to do is work out what your body needs. Also, the quality of the sleep is just as important as the duration.

Man SLEEP for sure.
All i know is that in MY LIFE.
If I have a lot of food and good sleep…I’m the happiest man alive.
I’ll work all fuckin day so hard, train so hard…I’ll do everything and anything…as long as I got lots of food and sleep I am VERY content to go through any struggle in my day and burst through it.

I agree with the sleepers, I perform much better when I’m rested. This could also be an age issue - I’m finding I need much more consistent sleep in my 40’s than I did in my 20’s, to be able to perform.

Sleep is good. For me i like to try and take it in cycles, similar to how i would workout. at the least i get about 6 hours to be fully functional. but every once in a while its good to have that extra few hours added.

it also depends on where your priorities lie in terms of fitness, career, etc. alot your energy in the most efficient way so that you’re not burning it out in areas where there isn’t as much importance (if you’re an athlete, then obviously theres gonna be more importance towards physical fitness. if your a business man, keep your personal fitness as important, but a majority of your time would be focused on career). this is how it is for me at least…

[quote]Miss Parker wrote:
I agree with the sleepers, I perform much better when I’m rested. This could also be an age issue - I’m finding I need much more consistent sleep in my 40’s than I did in my 20’s, to be able to perform.[/quote]

I have to agree- as an aging athlete I need my recovery- sleep goes a long way with that.

However I will mention if you are ever doing “real” training- as in multiple sessions
5 to 6 days a week , I found it hard to sleep, the body is too keyed up to relax,
as I have gotten older I need more sleep.

Ms.P You double rock!!! I thought you much younger- Im 37.


Thanks, kmc. My avatar is from last Halloween, when I’d just turned 43. 44 is coming very soon…

I strongly agree that the more I train the harder it is to sleep. I crawl exhausted into bed, but then it feels like my body is kind of humming with energy. As a lifelong insomniac anyway, I’m still trying to fix this.