NHL players Pekka Rinne, Jussi Jokinen and Miikka Salomäki have been using Oura during their summer training program with personal training company Prässi Ltd. We asked Pekka Rinne and his personal trainers Sami Alalauri and Katja Kukkula from Prässi what sleep and recovery related factors they keep track of, and how important sleep is for an athlete.
“I keep a close eye on my sleep quality and heart rate variability (HRV), and through these, my readiness to perform”, Rinne says, “I’m really interested in knowing how well my body responds to training.”
Rinne pays attention to sleep and sleep stages, which are vital indicators of recovery. For an athlete, recovery is just as important as training, and according to Rinne, its importance is further highlighted when you get older.
“I’ve learned to listen to my body, and Oura helps me to verify my feelings. It has also helped me to understand my sleep quality, and how to get more deep sleep. From recovery point of view it makes a difference if I sleep 7 or 8 hours, so increasing the amount of sleep is something I aim to do.”
Sleep and Recovery Go Together
Sami Alalauri and Katja Kukkula know that sleep has a profound meaning for an athlete. They use Oura when planning training programs.
“We create individual training programs for all our athletes, and when one wants to develop and train optimally, recovery processes need to be in order. We can’t achieve the results we want if an athlete’s sleep quality, and through this recovery, isn’t good. When readiness numbers are particularly low, we’ll consider whether it’s better to cancel the day’s practice. The ring is a good tool to for athletes to learn to listen their own body.”
In addition to using Oura with professional athletes, Alalauri and Kukkula use Oura’s data to help keep their own busy lifestyles in balance.
“We’re very interested in all the data that Oura ring provides. If something needs to be pinpointed, it’s the quality of sleep and the structure of sleep stages, and how we can have a positive effect on these through our own behavior. Another interesting thing is HRV, which we keep a close eye on. We train a lot and work long hours, so we want to know that we’re able to recover, and don’t push ourselves too hard”.
Top Tips for Hitting Your Training Goals
Finally, we asked Sami and Katja for three things to pay attention to when working towards hitting your training goals:
- The amount of sleep. Is the overall amount of sleep adequate? We’ve noticed that many people would benefit from 1-2 hours of more sleep each night.
- Sleep stages and their structure. Do you get enough deep sleep? Deep sleep is the stage where your body is recovering from the day’s load. If our clients have low amounts of deep sleep, we’ll play attention to sleep timing and other things that influence deep sleep.
- Heart rate variability (HRV). HRV tells us about body’s stress levels. It helps us to notice in advance if there’s a danger of getting overloaded, and to make changes to a training program accordingly.
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