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21.2.2020 / Sleep

Sleep through to Euros and few drops of sun

I believe most of Czech taekwondoists are now partly living for Euro 2020 in Prague. Some trains hard at national team camps, some thinks about how to improve their students even a bit more, some spends plenty of hours with organizing work. Some may motivate themselves with sport taekwondo videos and look forward participating as spectators.
I´ve been thinking about and studying not only what to do during training to improve, but also what not to do and what is worthy part of your regime out of dojang. Laziness is one danger, but other is self-destroying manner of doing everything hard without reason. And destroying your body is a way to weakness
In some social circles book Why we sleep: Unlocking the power of sleep and dreams from american neuroscientists Matthew Walker got very popular . I deeply recommend this book to everyone with my approach to life "I will sleep well in grave" as maybe "grave-time" will come earlier and way to it won´t be as pleasurable as it may be.
After reading a book I searched for some scientific research about sleep and taekwondo. There is some and athough it is mostly on small samples, it is reasonable to think about shared informations. Some papers says one night of sleep deprivation doesn´t change your output, some that eventhough you feel that you do well, your anaerobic perfomarmance and lactate levels are higher. That woulds say that you slowly decrease your training intensity or you will just do a bit worse next competition day. Sleep correlates more with mood and motivation, in some other sports also with "taste" for making fauls. So maybe that minus point in final that got you from gold to silver is because you did not spent enough time in bed last night (or the referee?). It may also be inspiration for coaches to have notes about sleep quality and lenght in training diaries of their students. I am just starting with it, will see what it will brings.
Recommendations to think about:
1/ don´t eat big meals 3-4 hrs before going to bed
2/ avoid caffeine and other stimulants 4-5 hrs before going to bed
3/ sleep in dark, quiet, cool room
4/ try to sleep 7-8,5 hours a day, ideally going to bed and waking up in same time through week
5/ supplementing melatonin after long flight to competition may help solving jet-lag
6/ if you´ve slept badly before competition, well planned nap through may help as would dose of caffeine 60 minutes before match (decrease reaction time, improves anaerobic procesess and slows tiredness between matches)
7/ last but not least - if you cannot follow some of the recommendations, remember that even slight improvements help

That´s it for sleeping. Second topic I want to share is: vitamin D. There is plenty of scientific evidence about vit. D and both acute and chronic diseases. I´ve tried to find something directly about taekwondo and vit. D and this is what I´ve found. Between 75%-100% measured taekwondoists has vit. D insuficiency (because of free time spent in indoor gym - vit. D is produced through sunlight reaching your skin). Vit. D increases some aspects of strenght output, also non-fat mass (so more muscles in same weight cathegory) and also make you less susceptible to acute respiratory diseases (that are no big deal, but make you train less). Recommendation would be to go out a lot during summer, train also outside. Supplement vit. D during winter.

Small changes in regime may bring huge improvement throught time.

Feel free to caontact me at martin.svitek@taekwondo.cz .

Mgr. Martin Svitek, V. Dan, Sonkal Praha

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