Sleep matters and compression gear: not so helpful?
by on Monday, January 19, 2015  (3 comments)

Sleep matters

We all know sleep matters, right? While there is no absolutely right amount of sleep that I can tell you everyone should get, generally, more is better. We can all accept that, right?

Well, charts of injury rates based on sleep have been floating around. The latest is posted on the Runner's World Sweat Science blog:

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Compression gear: not so helpful?

There are two reasons we see quoted for wearing compression gear: performance improvement and increased recovery. The New York Times Well blog looks at a recent study that suggests neither of these benefits may be real.

“Based upon the results of this study, lower-leg compression sleeves are unlikely to improve endurance running performance,” Dr. Stickford said.



A possible explanation is the placebo effect or maybe this was an anomaly. If it's the placebo effect, though, I'd argue as I have before why not embrace it? Whether you benefit from something because it has an actual physiological benefit or because you simply believe it will help you, what does that matter? If you benefit, you benefit.

That said, this does add to our body of knowledge on the topic of compression garments. It will be interesting to see what future studies may hold in this realm.

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3 comments
Dan (Guest)

I was considering giving up running 4 years ago because of how tight and painfull my calves were after each run. I tried the forking looking calf sleeves as a last resort and have not had a sore day since. Maybe for young runners who have no need physically for them and are looking for a race boost, this article makes sense. But it was a career saver for me.

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Charlene

I can't stand running in compression socks and I do not want to feel dependent on gear for performance. But I do think that wearing them after a run or to sleep does make my legs recover better. They really seem to help a nag in the calf.

This month I have been working really hard on the knots in my left soleous. I think they have been an underlying issue ever since before PF. It seems that it does not really bother me until I am at peak fitness and then cause havoc right before a goal race. I really have a limited range of motion in that ankle. This year i am massaging, stretching, and rehabbing that calf before it is a full blown injury. Compression socks do seem to help too. I always love to sleep.

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Ryan

Dan and Charlene, thanks for the insights. If I didn't make it clear in the post, let me just state that I'm a little skeptical of these results myself. We now have conflicting research on the topic. It's worth considering but not at this point, in my opinion, worth throwing our hands up and saying they are a waste of money.

If they work for you, as I mentioned, I don't care why. I don't care if there's something physiologically happening or a placebo effect or something else. It works and that's what matters.

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