Importance of Sleep for Athletes

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Athletes work very hard to win and achieve outstanding results. It is not an easy task as they need to train a lot, be careful about what they eat, and get enough rest during the night so that they are ready to cope with new athletic challenges that await them.  

Athletic performances depend a lot on the quality and the duration of sleep. Studies have shown that proper rest has a positive impact on the speed, reaction time, alertness, recovery, decision making, temperament, and accuracy of athletes. You can see how the lack of sleep can have an adverse impact on the reliable results. 

athlete sleeping

 

Adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep at night. However, athletes burn more calories when training than an average adult does, and it is not a surprise that they need more time to recover at least one extra hour. No matter if they sleep longer at night, or they take a one-hour afternoon nap, they need to get enough rest. Athletes push themselves in practice, and that’s why they need more time for the proper recovery. If they don’t get enough rest, it will have a negative influence on their performance. 

 

Psychological Benefits 

One of the most important psychological benefits of getting a good night’s sleep is that it can improve reaction times of athletes. For professional athletes, even a fraction of a second can mean a difference between winning and losing. Sleep deprivation can reduce reaction times significantly and be a make-or-break factor when it comes to achieving outstanding results.  

When athletes get enough rest at night, they are in an excellent mood, and their motivation to achieve significant results increases. Motivation is the key to achieving greatness, not just during competitions but also when training. If they are well-rested, athletes will avoid the irritability and laziness that results from the lack of sleep. 

Physiological Benefits 

The length and the quality of sleep have an impact on hormone release. Every person goes through a few sleeping cycles during the night, and each of them consists of five stages. During the first stage, people are in and out of consciousness. If they wake up, they may feel as if they didn’t sleep at all. This stage lasts up to 10 minutes. During the second stage, our bodies are preparing to enter deep sleep, eye movement stops, and brain waves slow down. It is also known as light sleep and lasts for 20 minutes.  

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The third and the fourth stage are known as deep sleep, and they are crucial to the athlete development. During these stages, a stress hormone called cortisol regulates. This hormone impacts the body’s ability to digest glucose. Endurance is vital to every athlete and affects our ability to metabolize glucose for later use. That’s why it is essential to get a good night’s sleep, especially for those who compete in endurance-testing sports, such as swimming. Growth hormone or HGH is also released during the deep sleep stages, and it is responsible for muscle building, muscle repair, bone growth, and fat oxidization. Finally, during the fifth stage known as REM stage, people have dreams, and their brain is active. 

Physical Benefits 

When it comes to physical benefits, getting enough sleep is associated with reduced injury rates. Studies show that sleep-deprived athletes are more likely to get injured compared to their counterparts who sleep enough. Do you want to know the reason for this? It is simple – if they don’t get enough rest, it will affect their reaction times. It means that their reaction to potential danger is slower. They usually suffer injuries because they weren’t able to react fast enough. The lack of sleep also affects the immune system of athletes. When they are sleep-deprived, they are more prone to illness. If they don’t get the proper rest, their bodies don’t have enough time to regenerate cells and repair the damage from daily activities, workouts, and games. As a result, they are not able to fight the illness. 

Go to Bed Early 

If you are an athlete, and you are searching for a way to improve your performance, consider going to bed early. Successful athletes have sleep schedules that they follow every single day. You should look up to them if you want to achieve greatness.

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Having an excellent sleep routine can go a long way when it comes to obtaining excellent results. Going to sleep at 2 a.m. won’t do you any good, nor will going to bed at different times every day. If you want to improve your results and the overall performance, you should go to bed on time, and get plenty of rest.  

Get the Right Mattress 

If you want to get a fair amount of quality rest, you need the right sleeping surface. In most cases, having a standard mattress is not good enough; you need something made especially for athletes. Getting one of the top mattresses for athletes can have a positive impact on your athletic performance and maximize the power of sleep. You should look for models with advanced features for muscle recovery and spinal alignment.  

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