Martial Arts Training
The Sleeping Warrior
By Phoenix Carnevale
Fighters are obsessive. Especially after hard training sessions. We commit
movie magic in our mind. Recreating the scene of the day’s works.
Relieving the moments we can remember of that last sparring sessions.
Trying to record in our minds each error so we can fix it, readjust and
learn. We know a good fighter learns from every sparring session... We
know a martial artist or boxer is always working on their technique. Now
if you train in the fighting arts you already know the value of hard work.
But how important is the value of rest as a companion to that hard work?
Science says EXTREMELY. Especially for extreme athletes.
Sleep and Performance
Lack of sleeps a pretty vicious opponent, hitting you with left hooks
to the immune system, body shots of depression, jabs of hormones imbalances,
clinching you up with aching muscles, lose of appetite, fainting, hallucinations
and slow reaction time. Sounds like a “knockout” to me. Pardon
the pun. Sounds like even worse than what your worse opponent can do to
Science has even proved that athletes need more sleep that the average
Joe. We have more muscles fatigue and more activity. Not having adequate
rest periods can lead to a condition called overtraining syndrome - a
difficult condition to recover from. And that can really set back your
goals. Nobody wants to have a ‘syndrome’.
I’m sure you’ve felt the difference in the gym after a good
nights sleep. Another advantage of sleep is also the performance of another
important tool in your fighters arsenal, maybe even the most important
Sleep and Mental Performance
When you are a sleep you brain begins filing all the important information
it’s learned throughout the day. It even helps make memories stronger
and weeds out irrelevant details and background information so that only
the important information remains. Information like maybe you keep dropping
your left hand or vital information your coaches is teaching you about
you stance or opponents habits.
The brain evolved to use light and darkness by acquiring information
in the daytime and processing it at night. This makes sleeping key to
learning and learning helps us evolve as athletes.
A team of researchers from the University of California and Stanford
University found that sleep-restricted rats had a harder time remembering
a path through a maze compared to their rested counterparts. And unlike
the rats that got enough sleep, the sleep-restricted rats showed reduced
survival rate of new hippocampus (responsible for memory) cells. Sleep
plays a part in helping those new brain cells survive.
Sleep deprivation can be torture…quite literally. Its been known
to be used as an interrogation technique by the Soviet Union, or by the
US on Guantanamo-held prisoners. Interrogation victims are kept awake
for several days; when they are finally allowed to fall asleep, they are
suddenly awakened and questioned. Sounds like torture to me! I complain
about my alarm clock!
Martial artist must remember the importance of Balance. And with hard
work must be a considerable amount of rest to repair. If your cell phone
is on its last bar…we’ll you will be putting it on the charger
if you plan to make a call. So if you plan to fight a battle…better
recharge your mental and physically batteries. I decided to write this
article to well…put to bed (so to speak) this theory of “you’ll
sleep when you’re dead”. It’s more like “you’ll
be dead if you don’t sleep”. So fight hard warriors and dream
big. The victories and conquest created by all our hard work is the stuff
our dreams are made of so sleep on it. I wish you sweet dreams.
About The Author:
Phoenix Carnevale is a NYC based fitness expert. Certified
under the NASM she's worked with everyone from the couch potatoes, the
amateur athlete, a mother to be or the stressed out executive. She's been
featured on CBS, NBC, CW11, Spike tv, Lifetime and American Latino to
name a few. She is a contributor for Shape Magazine and is Latina Magazines
residential fitness expert. She also writes for Wfighter.com She can also
be seen hosting and producing a popular Martial Arts podcast Called “Inside
Martial Arts” available on Itunes. Phoenix studied Seido Karate,
Boxing at Gleasons gym and recently started Muy Thai at The Wat in NYC.