SLEEP AND ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
Sleep is a very important factor in our everyday performance. It affects our mood, cognitive ability, heart rate, recovery, and much more. Getting the correct amount of sleep help aids our natural body’s processes.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital reports that, on average, adolescents sleep two hours less than the 8-10 hours they require.
So, why do we need sleep? While we are asleep, we release growth hormones. This aids in muscle protein synthesis, which is what builds and repairs our muscles. This means sleep deprivation causes you to get less out of your training and slows recovery. There is also an increase in stress hormones when a person is experiencing sleep deprivation. The increase in stress hormones affects appetite and glucose tolerance, two things that are important for adequate fueling as well as overall health.
Additionally, sleep loss can cause neurological disturbances. This includes things like mental clarity, reaction time, and decision making. Your motivation may decrease with little sleep as well, which can lead to shorter training sessions, especially in endurance sports.
Athletes have busy schedules which can make it harder to go to sleep at a decent time. Planning ahead is key to ensuring everything gets done and you get enough rest.
Falling asleep can be an issue for many as well. Read the list below for tips on falling and staying asleep.
- Create a bedtime routine: if you do the same thing every night before you lay down, your body will learn when it is time to sleep.
- Avoid technology before bed: screens can be very stimulating which makes it hard to calm down and fall asleep.
- Stick to a schedule: going to sleep at the same time and waking at the same time, even on weekends, helps your body know when it is time to rest each day.
- Make your room optimal for great sleep: keep it at a cool temperature, make it dark, and keep it quiet.
- Turn on the lights when it is time to wake up: our bodies natural circadian rhythm is meant to wake up in bright light.