Roll, Eat, Sleep, Repeat. This is one of the most usual BJJ mantras across the globe. However, people usually only focus on the first, and perhaps on the second part of it. The part that doesn’t get nearly enough attention is sleep. Out of all the BJJ tips for grapplers, it seems that sleep shouldn’t really rank high on the list. However, if you see the usual sleeping habits of most grapplers, or better said, lack of them, you can understand why we need to address this subject. Time to see how we can optimize sleeping for BJJ recovery and ultimately, a better Jiu-Jitsu game.
Until a while ago, most combat sport related to strength and conditioning was all about training. Lifting weights, roadwork, sprints, CrossFit, and the likes reigned supreme. Lately, people started looking more into recovery with things like mobility work, foam rolling, and even movement training. In this context of recovery, though, the one aspect that most still take for granted is sleep. It seems pretty obvious, get as much sleep as you can, but things are rarely as simple as that. That’s before even mentioning how difficult it can be to get in more than a few hours of sleep with this modern lifestyle. And, lack of sleep is something that greatly impacts your Jiu-Jitsu training, both physically and mentally. So, how do you know how much sleep you need? Le’s look into it.
George Lockhart is one of the people involved in combat sports that has a mission to make athletes bodies work flawlessly. He handles weight cuts, nutrition, recovery and even has integral advice on sleep and sleeping patterns. It is all in his “Nutrition And Weight Management” bundle that includes 3 DVDs and a big E-book.
Why You Need Sleep
There are plenty of aspects from which sleep can benefit a grappler. Some are pretty obvious, as they pertain to health and wellbeing in general and you don’t need BJJ tips in order to be aware of them. Some, on the other hand, is all about athletic potential and performance. As asleep becomes the focus of recovery programs, more and more research is done into why we need it. So far indications are numerous.
Some of the athletic benefits that a good night’s sleep brings are increased reaction time, more accuracy and precision in athletic movement, improved speed, and similar. It also helps improve the rate of your metabolism. On top of it all, there’s the mental component. We all know how sluggish we tend to be if we’re tired and we lack sleep. And that’s from just one or two days of lack of sleep. Imagine what chronic undersleeping does to your mind and body.
There’s also a different angle to sleep and why it is so important. Our hormonal systems, for the most part, work on a circadian rhythm. that means they need us to be awake and asleep during a certain amount of time, i.e. 24 hours. This is especially true for testosterone, which is integral to hard training. Sleep also heavily affects our immune systems, making us susceptible to colds or gym infections. In fact, your immune system can completely shut down from lack of sleep.
How Much Sleep Is Enough?
So, how much sleep do grapplers exactly need in order to optimize their performance? How about the minimum amount that is required to keep us functioning in a healthy way? The thing with sleep is that it is a very individual thing. Not all individuals need the same amount in order to have the same benefits. Which is where things can get complicated.
Since we can’t offer a pattern of sleep that’ll fit everyone’s needs, we’ll go over some BJJ tips for sleep length in general. The minimum time you should spend sleeping should be no less than 4 hours. And even this is far from optimal and mustn’t be a regular thing. you could get away with one or two nights per week, but it is not recommendable. As you get older, you’ll feel the stress of it more and more.
With just 4 hours of sleep, you might fulfill the norm for barely staying functional, but not for training. As far as BJJ tips go, you need to aim for the golden period of 8 hours if you want to grapple at a high intensity. ANd this means 8 hours of uninterrupted, sound sleep. During this time, you’ll go through enough repetitions of the sleep cycle to gain all the benefits. Yes, it may be hard to squeeze this in a regular working day, but if you truly want to be a machine on the mats there’s simply no way around it.
BJJ Tips: Optimizing Sleep For Grapplers
Making sure you’re getting enough uninterrupted sleep is paramount for grapplers. There are different strategies though, to get what you need every night. This is where the individual factor comes into play a lot. It is also where you can use a few tricks to make sure you get all the benefits without the full 8 hours of sleep.
One of the best BJJ tips is to make sure you give to sleep in the best environment possible. Especially if you can only get in 6 hours or so. that means that you need to be in a room that’s as dark as humanly possible. Absolutely no electronics, and especially screen should be anywhere near you. Furthermore, you need to make sure you have enough quiet. And, of course, pay attention to the bed you’re sleeping in. The mattress should be on the harder side, and you have to make sure the pillow offers the proper spinal support you need for uninterrupted sleep.
Finally, real lifesavers are naps. While you can’t really make up for lack of sleep with napping, you can certainly boost your body and mind. Take either a few 10-20 minute naps or one half an hour or so long during the day. Creating a regular sleep pattern that you can adhere to is one of the best BJJ tips we can give you on recovery.