You’re undoubtedly aware that a healthy diet and regular exercise are essential for athletic performance. However, sleep is an important third aspect that many people tend to ignore. In fact, efforts going into diet and exercise may even suffer without enough of it.
Regular sleep has several advantages. During sleep, your body has the opportunity to repair itself which provides you with the energy you require for the following day. You can build memories and process information throughout the phases of sleep. It also promotes muscular development, recuperation, and helps the body to avoid sickness. The advantages of sleep are particularly essential for athletes for their training and performance.
Good sleep hygiene is essential for not only obtaining enough sleep but to maximise your body recovery. Take into account your sleeping surroundings, you should make sure your room is dark, quiet and at comfortable temperature. You should also ensure that you have a proper and comfortable mattress to avoid long term injury. Quality sleep will help you stay strong, healthy, and ready to compete whether you’re on the field, gym or in the pool.
How Much Sleep Do Athletes Need?
Like everyone else, athletes need adequate and quality sleep. But it can be difficult to get enough sleep when their busy training, practicing, and competing. In fact, athletes should be getting more sleep than ordinary person to help improve their performance and for their body to recover from their day to day high performing activities.
Athletes often will require more than the average 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep for Athletes
1. Muscle-Building Hormones are Produced During Sleep
During deep sleep, your muscles are rebuilt and repaired from previous workouts. This is the time your body produces growth hormone and testosterone.
2. Sleep Helps with Brain Function
Sleep improves your ability to think and reason out problems. This is particularly helpful for athletes who practice complicated routines. Getting enough sleep helps you remember what you’ve already learned and apply it to the next day’s training.
3. Sleep Raises Resistance to Illness
Sleep has been shown to protect athletes from illness. One study found that people who slept at least 8 hours per night were less likely to catch a cold.
4. Less Sleeping Means More Eating
People who don’t get enough sleep tend to eat more calories. This is because they aren’t getting the energy they need and are trying to compensate for it.
5. Sleep Helps Muscles Recover
During deep sleep, your body stops releasing adrenaline and cortisol. It also stops releasing the stress hormone, which is released during exercise. This is what helps your muscles recover.
6. Better Sleep Leads to Improved Performance
Sleep is vital for learning and concentrating during practice or during competition since it helps consolidate memories. Additionally, sleep might help you develop your talents in other different ways:
- Increased Accuracy: A study of university tennis players found that athletes increased their daily sleep to at least nine hours. Their serves improved dramatically, rising from 35.7 percent to 41.8 percent accuracy.
- Faster Reaction Times and Speeds: Male and female university swimmers who upped their sleep to 10 hours per night observed improvements in their performance. They took off faster and increased their turn times. The swimmers also improved their 15-meter times.
- Improved Overall Performance: University men’s basketball players who slept 10 hours each night over the season saw significant improvements in several categories. Their sprints on the half-court and full-court were faster. Their free throw percentages have risen by at least 9%. Sleepiness and weariness improved, as did general mental and physical health.
Sleep is just as important to being a successful athlete as diet and exercise. Without enough of it, athletes risk more bodily injury and poorer performance.
Even if you’re practicing or competing all day, you need a good night’s sleep to achieve better results. Athletes tend to get a better sleep when they follow a routine.
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