Proper Sleep Promotes Improved Athletic Training
Most people don’t realize that in addition to physical training and proper diet, sleep plays a major role in achieving your best athletic performance. The quality and amount of sleep athletes get is often the key to winning . If sleep os cut short, the body doesn’t have the ability to repair muscle tissue, memorize good body mechanics, and release needed hormones.
Sleep deprivation can cause a decline in split-second decision making, and increase in the stress hormone cortisol, a decrease in the production of glycogen and carbohydrates that are stored for energy. Less sleep equals more fatigue, low energy; poor focus at game time, and may slow recovery post-game.
Sleep is often the forgotten component to high performance, according to Kevin Costello in Why it Does Pay to Fall Asleep. In 2012 study with student athletes, the group who reported getting less than 8 hours of sleep per night during a 21 month period, 57% reported injuries and 38% reported multiple injuries. Sleep was the greatest predictor of injury. Sleep deprivation in many athletes resulted in depression which adversely affected their motivation, focus and ability to compete the next day at their maximum level of performance.
Depression resulting from sleep deprivation also makes it more difficult to maintain a good diet and workout/training routine, causing a significant decline in athletic performance. Tiger Woods is a good example of how his performance fell apart after the media circus surrounding his marital problems, despite the fact his skill level was unchanged.
9 Sleep Tips to Improve Athletic Performance:
1) Don’t lie in bed without sleeping-use a nonmedication sleeping aid or soothing sounds to fall asleep within 20-40 minutes
2) Increase your sleep time several weeks before a major competition
3) While sleeping, make sure your bedroom is dark, cool temperature, and quiet
4) Use an alarm clock to eliminate wake-up anxiety
5) Reduce caffeine, nicotine, and sugar intake especially in the afternoon/evening hours
6) Be cautious with the use of medications or nutritional supplements that can impair the quantity and quality of your sleep
7) Keep consistent hours for bedtime and wake-up
8) Relax before going to bed via a warm bath or Jacuzzi, read, or do relaxation exercises or listen to relaxing programs
9) Make sleep a priority in your training schedule.
Sleep, Athletic Performance, and Recovery, National Sleep Foundation, 2015
A good night’s sleep for student athletes, The Foundation for Global Sports Development, 2013
How to use sleep to improve sports performance, Washington State University, 2015