Did you know that in addition to physical conditioning and nutrition, sleep is just as important in athletic performance and competitive results?
A good night’s sleep is as essential as being fit and eating healthy food. Sleep deprivation causes a deep impact on your energy levels and long-term health. The same rule goes for healthy food as it does for sleep: athletes need more of it. Can you guess what one of the best athletes in the world, Usain Bolt, considers being the most important part of his training routine? That’s correct – sleep.
Performace, reaction time and recovery
Normal people should get between 7,5 and 9 hours of sleep per day. Athletes in training should sleep about an hour extra. Experts advise to go to sleep earlier, or take an afternoon nap, as sleep plays a major role in maintaining your health. Especially important is the so-called “deep sleep” phase, which not only stimulates growth and development but repairs muscles and tissues and boosts the immune system. In order to wake up energized and refreshed, getting a quality deep sleep is essential.
How much sleep do some professional athletes get?
– Wayne Rooney gets 8 hours of sleep per night and and an extra 1 or 2 during the afternoon
– Roger Federer gets 11 to 12 hours sleep per night
– Lebron James gets 12 hours of sleep per night
Some research suggests that sleep deprivation increases levels of stress hormone – cortisol. Sleep deprivation has also been connected to a decreased production of glycogen and carbohydrates used for energy use during activity. In addition, low energy levels can stimulate an appetite and cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods.
Sleep deprivation lowers performance
– Sleep improves split-second decision-making abilities
– Sleep deprivation causes fatigue
– Lack of quality sleep can slow down post-match recovery
Not getting enough sleep doesn’t only make you tired the next day, but it causes other physical and psychological effects, as well. A study tracked the Stanford University basketball team for several months after having players add an average of 2 hours of sleep a night. The results? They had faster reflexes and felt happier. Other studies have shown similar benefits for football players and other athletes.
5 Sleep Tips for Athletes
Getting enough sleep takes commitment, just like training. Many things can get in the way, including traveling far away games, practicing early in the morning, games late in the evening and the stress of competing.
1. Regular schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
2. Give yourself time when traveling to get used to your new setting. If you’re traveling for an athletic competition, it’s a good idea to get there early.
3. Reduce alcohol and caffeine. Avoid anything that could disrupt your sleep.
4. Eliminate noise and light from your bedroom.
5. Avoid screens (TV, phone, tablet, computer) within 2 hours of your bedtime (or install one of the apps for changing the blue light into red).
Tips from Fieldoo users:
“Sleep is a very important thing for a professional player. I’m always trying to go to sleep regularly, at the same time. For me, it’s enough to sleep about 9 hours. I know that if I get enough of quality sleeping time, I can be more concentrated at the practice or the game.”
Dziugas Barktus, goalkeeper of Polish club Gornik Leczna.