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Cold Water Immersion's Effect On Sleep

December 5, 2011

After training, parasympathetic nervous system activity is temporarily decreased while your body recovers. This system, which controls digestive secretions and heart rate, makes up half of the autonomic nervous system that handles numerous metabolic functions. What if you could blunt the effect of parasympathetic suppression? Research published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance suggests you might enjoy more sound sleep along with an enhanced sense of well-being.

Researchers recruited 8 elite swimmers who typically trained for 21 hours a week spread over the course of 5 days. After the last training session on each of the 5 days, some of these swimmers sat in a pool of 59 degree water for 5 minutes. The next morning, they rated the quality of the previous night's slumber. Each day seemed to bring better reports of sleep quality. Since sleep is important to recovery from resistance training, try a cooler than normal shower after each of your workouts for a week or so. Read today's ON Breaking News post to see how the sympathetic nervous system impacts weight loss goals.