Kicking your training up a notch can put you on the fast track to greater gains and exercise performance—but it can also really tucker you out. New researchpublished in the Journal of Sports Sciences reveals intensive bouts of exercise can make it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, and get good quality sleep. But there is one thing that may help: don’t nix the carbs.
The researchers discovered as little as nine days of intense training caused significant and progressive decline in sleep quality among the athletes, and their moods and capacity for exercise both deteriorated over the period of observation.
The cyclists spent more time in bed during the training period, but they didn’t log any more actual sleep; they woke up more frequently at night. They also experienced higher tension, anger, fatigue, confusion, depression and increased feelings and symptoms of stress as the training wore on.
As for the additional carbs, the team found the high carbohydrate intervention reduced some (they don’t specify which) of the effects of hard training, but not all. What’s more, the moderate-carb athletes recorded more sleep time, but the researchers believe this indicates higher levels of fatigue and a greater need for recovery when following that diet.
Bottom line for athletes: Don’t ditch the carbs and give yourself plenty of time for rest and recovery. There’s your excuse to pencil some naps into your training regimen.