Content type: Research paper

What they found: In this study, researchers compared sleep versus easy aerobic activity (Think: an easy jog or bike ride for an athlete), in rugby athletes. They found that sleep extension had a faster recovery in cognitive performance, but aerobic activity led to quicker neuromuscular function and autonomic recovery.

What it means: It’s important to note that this was a small study looking at a single nights sleep. But it does provide something novel and useful. If you need to get ready for game or big performance, of course you should prioritize sleep, but you shouldn’t neglect some easy aerobic exercise. Perhaps this is the reason why so many runners go for an easy shakeout jog the morning before a race?

Cite: Leduc C, Weaving D, Owen C, Ramirez-Lopez C, Chantler S, Aloulou A, Tee J, Jones B. The effect of acute sleep extension vs active recovery on post exercise recovery kinetics in rugby union players. PLoS One. 2022 Aug 18;17(8):e0273026. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0273026. PMID: 35980956; PMCID: PMC9387860.

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