The importance of sleep in athletic performance has become the focus of attention for sports physicians around the world as individuals and teams look for anything that will give them the advantage over their rivals. Sleep helps the body repair itself so if an athlete is not getting enough sleep, then they will not be able to perform at their peak.
Developed by a South African specialist ophthalmologist, SleepSpec are scientifically engineered glasses with amber tinted lenses which filter out blue light that is known to suppress production of the hormone melatonin which is needed to induce sleep.
At night, as the sun sets, the body produces melatonin. When the sun rises, light (including blue light) increases, stopping the production of melatonin. The drop in melatonin causes the body to wake up. The sleep/wake cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm, is responsible for controlling ones’ sleep patterns.
Nowadays, however, artificial light from lights and particularly from electronic devices, means that the brain struggles to distinguish the change from day to night. As a result, melatonin production is suppressed, and our bodies are unable to move effectively into sleep mode.
SleepSpec works by filtering out blue light and allowing the body to produce melatonin naturally, inducing quality sleep and recovery. They can be used to at any time of the day or night and can help the body adapt to new time zones. This reduces the effects of jetlag, which also affects athletic performance.
REM sleep provides energy to both the brain and body. If sleep is cut short or disturbed, the body doesn’t have time to repair memory, consolidate memory, and release hormones including melatonin, a powerful anti-oxidant which helps cells get rid of free radicals and other toxins.
According to the American National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation has also been seen to decrease production of glycogen and carbohydrates that are stored for energy use during physical activity. Therefore, less sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy, and poor focus.
SleepSpec has supplied various top sports teams around the world including the Emirates Lions, Stormers Rugby Team, Cheetahs Rugby Team, UK premier football team FC Bournmouth, SA Rugby and most recently SA Netball. SleepSpec has also worked with the Northern Ireland Commonwealth team and the BMW GS Trophy Team.
This year SleepSpec are partnering with Vencasa to provide Munga riders with the opportunity to get some much-needed sleep and recovery. A limited number of SleepSpec will be available at all 5 race villages for competitors to use.
SleepSpec will also be sponsoring prizes for the Top 10 finishers in both the male and female categories.