You think that you’re doing everything you should be, don’t you? You’re training regularly and not just that; but every drill you execute is taken seriously and done to the best to your abilities. You roll with just the right mixture of aggressiveness and openness for learning. You strength-train, as well as invest time for proper warm-ups and stretching. On top of all that, you’re eating properly, drinking enough water, and you’re spending additional hours into analyzing Jiu Jitsu competition footage and instructionals. You’re doing everything that you can to become the best Jiujiteiro possible, right?
Well, chances are that you’re neglecting one very important – if not the most important – aspect that affects your progress: sleep.
WIN OR LEARN… OR LOSE, IF YOU DON’T SLEEP
It’s so easy to forget the importance of sleep in the today’s #everydayporrada BJJ culture. Don’t get us wrong; there’s nothing wrong in going all out when you train and in becoming the best version of yourself possible on all fronts, Jiu Jitsu included. However, this „grind“ mentality often overlooks sleep – and even prides itself on the lack of it.
Sleep is one of the most effective mechanisms your body possesses for staying healthy and, conservely, for making progress. To begin with, it helps you organize and consolidate newly-formed memories. However, this isn’t applicable only to facts and similar abstract things you’d study in school, for example; sleep goes a long way into making sure that the motoric skills, which you’re learning throughout the day, get deeply ingrained.
So, if you aren’t getting adequate sleep each night, all of that effort which you’re pouring into acquiring those techniques… It might not go completely down the drain, but you’re going to lose on a LOT of potential this way.
RECOVERY, PAIN AND TESTOSTERONE LEVELS
Secondly, and perhaps something you’re most aware of, the lack of sleep makes you feel, well – not rested enough. Even though you can push through this nagging feeling of: „Oh man, I could’ve slept more“ for a couple of days and still feel reasonably fine, you will still greatly hinder your body’s capacity to recover.
It’s the „deep sleep“ phase of your night time that gets the job of rejuvenation done. The so-called „REM sleep“, in particular, provides sufficient energy to both your brain and body. And, although one study points to the possibility that your strength might not be affected by sleep deprivation, it still brings up the concerns about the time to exhaustion. Meaning, it goes to show that you’re going to fatigue much faster if you don’t sleep well.
Furthermore, sleep is a sort of a natural analgesic in a way; it helps you manage and lower all that pain you feel after an intense roll. It gets your system rid of toxic remains (such as of the amyloid beta protein), as well as bolsters and regulates your hormone production. Beware: if your sleep for 5 hours per night for just 7 days, your testosterone levels will drop by as much as 15%!
STOP SELLING YOURSELF SHORT
To put it bluntly, if you’re cutting your sleeping hours short… Or if the quality of your sleep is compromised (for example, by drinking alcohol – which hinders your REM sleep), you’re incapacitating yourself from recovering properly and from learning new things; both of which are necessary for your BJJ success.
Therefore, make some changes. For starters, stop mindlessly browsing on your phone so late at night and start going to sleep earlier. Also, try to wake up at the same time every morning. Your body and Jiu Jitsu alike will thank you immeasurably for it.
Ex- Navy Seal commander and BJJ black belt Jocko Willink is famous for waking up everyday at 4:30 am every morning. Here he explains how to get better sleep: