Alaska Sleep Education Center

Ninjas Need Sleep, too!

Posted by Jennifer Hines

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on Sep 18, 2019 7:15:00 AM

American Ninja Warrior just awarded its second-ever million-dollar prize — to Drew Drechsel!

The newly crowned season 11 champion is only the third contestant to ever conquer the entirety of Mount Midoriyama in under 30 seconds, making it through Stage 4 in less than 28 seconds, as his competitor Daniel Gil — despite making it to the top of the 75-foot rope climb, didn’t beat the clock.

Drechsel nabbed the coveted title at the national finals in Las Vegas on Monday night, placing him among the limited ranks of only one other $1 million winner in the show’s history: Isaac Caldiero, who scaled Midoriyama in under 30 seconds to take home the cash in 2015.

Drechsel has been competing on American Ninja Warrior since its third season and has made it to the national finals six times, according to TVLineThe outlet reports that he made it to Stage 3 three times, winning $100,000 in 2018.

Drew detailed his training — including flipping his sleep schedule — for this season prior to his successful Stage 2 run. 

Many of the world’s greatest athletes live for their sport. In addition to physical conditioning and conscious eating, sleep plays a major role in athletic performance and competitive results.

The quality and amount of sleep athletes get is often the key to winning. REM sleep in particular provides energy to both the brain and body. If sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have time to repair memory, consolidate memory, and release hormones.

A study in the journal SLEEP confirms the role of sleep in performance with results that show declines in split-second decision making following poor sleep. Results also showed increased accuracy in well-rested subjects.

Exercise depletes energy, fluids, and breaks down muscle. Hydration and the right fuel are only part of training and recovery. What athletes do in the moments during and immediately after competition also determines how quickly their bodies rebuild muscle and replenish nutrients. This helps maintain endurance, speed, and accuracy.

Some research suggests that sleep deprivation increases levels of stress hormone, cortisol.

Sleep deprivation has also been seen to decrease production of glycogen and carbohydrates that are stored for energy use during physical activity. In short, less sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy, and poor focus at game time. It may also slow recovery post-game.

Whether you’re at the top of your game or in the game for the fun of it, getting the proper amount of sleep is necessary to face the word with your best food forward. Sleep will help you on the road to good fitness, good eating, and good health.

Sometimes in spite of all our efforts to enhance our sleep, we may be fighting against sleep disorders that cannot simply be overcome without professional help. If you feel tired throughout the day or believe there are other reasons you are not sleeping well, visit any of Alaska Sleep Clinic's four labs in Anchorage, Wasilla, Fairbanks and Soldotna.

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Topics: Sleep, exercise, science, athelic performance

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