Can sleep improve your athletic performance?

Athletes strive to win, from training to dieting. They may overlook one simple thing: go to bed an hour earlier.

“Adequate sleep is critical to athletic performance,” said David Geier, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, South Carolina. Research shows that good sleep can improve athletes’ speed, accuracy and reaction time.

“Sleep is when your body repairs itself. If we don’t get enough sleep, we don’t perform well.” — Felicia Stoler, RD

How much sleep do athletes need?

Most people need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. If you are a training athlete, you may need more.

“Just as athletes need more calories when training than most people, they also need more sleep,” Gale said. You build your body during practice, so you need more time to recover.

Athletes in training should get an extra hour or so of sleep. You can go to bed early, or take a nap, says Jim Thornton, president of the National Association of Athletic Trainers.

How sleep affects athletic performance

“Lack of sleep doesn’t just make you feel tired the next day,” says Gale. “It has a huge impact on what’s going on in your body.”

Felicia Stoler, RD, exercise physiologist and registered dietitian for cheap sweatshirt wholesale, agrees. “Sleep is your body’s time to repair itself,” she says. “If we don’t get enough sleep, we’re not going to perform as well.”

On the other hand, research has found clear evidence that increasing sleep has real benefits for athletes.

One study followed Stanford basketball teams for several months. Players gained an average of nearly 2 hours of sleep per night. result? Player speed increased by 5%. Their free throw percentage has improved by 9 percent. They respond faster and feel happier. Other studies have shown similar benefits for soccer players and other athletes.

4 Sleep Tips for Athletes

Adequate sleep requires commitment, just like training.

A A lot of things can get in your way, such as travel for away games, early morning training, late night games, and the stress of the game.

Make these four fixes part of your daily routine.

  1. A regular schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  2. When traveling, give yourself some time to adjust to the new environment. If you’re going to a sporting event, it’s best to get there days or even weeks in advance, Stoler said. This allows your body to adjust and you have time to get into your normal sleep schedule.
  3. Avoid sleeping pills. “Don’t take any sleeping pills unless prescribed by your doctor,” Thornton said. Over-the-counter sleep aids may affect the quality of your sleep and your performance the next day. Relying on natural relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, before bed is a better approach, he says.
  4. Reduce alcohol and caffeine. “Two or three days before a race, start cutting back on caffeine and alcohol,” says Gale. “You want to avoid anything that might disturb your sleep.”