Does lack of sleep make you slower? 

How you can get stronger as you slumber: The science of sleep  

WHOOP Sleep can help you improve performance
WHOOP Sleep can help you improve performance
(Image credit: WHOOP )

Promotional feature with Whoop

The experts are in unison when it comes to the importance of sleep for cycling performance.

Science has told us that getting faster on the bike is not just about how hard you ride, but also about how well you recover.

Sleep can often be the forgotten element in your training, but with the help of WHOOP you can maximise your slumber to help you get stronger.

Here’s what you need to know about sleep and cycling:

How sleep can make the difference

Training experts and coaches will agree that it’s not the workout that makes you stronger, but the recovery after.

Improving your sleep quality can have a huge benefit on your training and recovery, as a lack of sleep can suppress your cardiovascular performance and of course can dictate your mood and motivation.

But as many people will know, getting enough sleep can be easier said than done, especially when trying to balance your riding with the demands of normal life, like work and family.

There are a few simple steps you can take that will quickly improve the quality of your sleep however.

Electronic devices are known to impact your sleep when used late at night or in bed.

The blue light emitted from phones and laptops is known to suppress the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for inducing sleep.

Caffeine intake can also be another barrier to ideal sleep time and cyclists are known for their love for coffee. It’s a stimulant so it increases your wakefulness and is also a mild diuretic, so you’re more likely to wake up in the night needing the bathroom if you take in a lot of coffee.

But beyond the simple tips, a sleep tracking route, through use of a device like a WHOOP Strap 3.0, could be the next step in levelling up when getting your head down.

How WHOOP can revolutionise your sleep

Wearable tech like WHOOP is completely revolutionising sleep and can completely transform the way cyclists approach their recovery.

WHOOP measures not just how long you sleep for, but the time spent in each stage of sleep to help you better understand the quality of your nightly recovery.

But beyond that, WHOOP can coach you into improving your sleep to help you reach your perfect performance level for the next day.

WHOOP Sleep Goals

WHOOP breaks down your sleep into three key metrics: Quality, efficiency, and consistency—each of which can play a major role in your recovery.

Quality measures the amount of time spent in each sleep stage, from REM sleep to Slow Wave (Deep) sleep to awake, with a good sleep including three to five cycles.

Efficiency is the number of disturbances during each sleep and WHOOP gives you a percentage to show you how well you slept. Frequent disturbances are associated with lower sleep quality.

Consistency focuses on your sleep and wake times: The more consistent you can be, the better you’ll sleep.

The WHOOP Sleep Coach makes recommendations that match up with your circadian rhythm, the natural process that regulates your sleep and waking times, to achieve a more regular pattern.

How does WHOOP measure overall recovery?

Measuring your sleep is only part of the recovery process, as WHOOP also offers you a full picture of your recovery.

Through the WHOOP mobile app,  WHOOP calculates your recovery based on four physiological markers—your heart-rate variability (HRV), your resting heart rate, sleep and respiratory rate.

These are then compiled to give you a percentage score, with red, yellow and green zones, so you know if you’re prepared to perform or if your body needs more recovery.

You can also receive weekly and monthly sleep performance reports, as WHOOP tracks your sleep trends and compares it to previous periods so you can build up a picture of your recovery over time.