According to specialists, sleep patterns of athletes determine their performances. Getting enough sleep by athletes leads to a better sport performance in all fields. Getting better sleep improves the mood, alertness, cognitive functioning and performance of the athletes. Extra hours of sleep are significant in helping athletes perform at their peak levels. Athletes who travel and have full schedules for games and competitions often fail to get regular and satisfying hours of sleep. Lack of sleep has a negative effect on athletes functioning.
How much sleep do athletes need
The amount of sleep you need depends on your age, genetics, health and how much physical activity you participate in daily. Normal functioning adults need around six to eight hours of sleep to improve their performance, concentration and mood. Experts recommend 8 to ten hours of sleep for athletes. When you are an athlete, you use up all your energy in intense physical activities. At the end of the day, you are tired and your muscles are worn out. Extra sleep hours help you regain both muscles and energy.
How can lack of sleep affect an athletes’ performance?
Sleep deprivation will affect your body’s ability to produce energy in form of glycogen and carbohydrate, which is much needed during physical activities. Minimal sleep makes you more fatigued, and less focused to take on any form of physical activity.
Why more sleep can improve athlete’s performance
In addition to exercise and a good diet, athletes need good sleep for a better performance. The quality and quantity of sleep you take will affect your performance. Athletes have to perform a lot of exercise which depletes their fluids, energy and muscles. The most important parts of recovering these three elements are hydration, proper diet and sleep. Sleep provides your body and brain with energy and repairs its damaged muscles and tissues
Here are some of the ways a good sleep will enhance your athletic performance
You will be more accurate
Extra hours of sleep can boost your reaction times. We are all aware that sleep is necessary to improve our cortical functioning. Cortical functions such as multitasking are important when it comes to athletics. You have to spare seconds and react immediately when you are in the field. A footballer has to concentrate on the ball and his team mates at the same time. Extra sleep is known to increase your reaction time by more than 100%.
You will be able to handle intense workouts
Fatigue can shorten your capacity to handle even the simplest of workouts. When you get minimal sleep, you will find it difficult to do even the simplest of tasks. When you lack sleep, you will find yourself suffering from drowsiness and weakness. Sleeping an extra hour or two will give you the energy needed for your regular workout plan and even more.
Strong cognitive abilities
Athletes with less sleep often feel anxious, depressed, and stressed. When you do not have enough sleep, it is harder for you to pay attention, think, create new ideas or simply retrieve old memories. As you get more hours of sleep, your brain cell are strengthened and your cognitive functions improve. Sleeping helps us retain information and keep our focus and attention in check.
A boost in coordination
High quality sleep is important for decision making, judgment, attention and coordination. Quality sleep helps you sustain your focus and alertness. The memories linked to your motor skills are consolidated simply by having enough rest. Sleep is also important when it comes to linking your recall to body movements. This functioning is handy when it comes to implementing what you practiced in the field. Your body is able to recall the body movements when you scored during practice, and use them while you are playing a football match
Reduced injury rates and improved health
Studies show that injury rates of athletes increase during performance. The less sleep you have the more likely you are prone to injury in the field. We have established that the more hours you sleep the more energy you are likely to regain. Athletes who sleep less have minima energy and reaction capacity. They are more likely to fall, hit hard places or injure themselves with equipment.
When you sleep your body’s immunity system produces substances that fight bacteria and viruses. This way, you get more energy to fight diseases and illnesses. Athletes with less hours of sleep have high risks of getting sick.
Sleeping tips for athletes to help them improve performance
Get a regular sleep schedule
Go to bed and wake up at the same time daily. This helps to direct your body clock, which regulates the amount of sleep you need. It is also a preventive measure from sleep disorders like insomnia and hypersomnia. Keeping a record of your sleep schedule is the best way to learn how to catch up on sleep, It can also help maintain a regular and consistent training routine and nutrition plan
Reduce caffeine and alcoholic drinks
Caffeinated drinks stimulate your body, causing an increase in blood pressure which keeps you up for several hours at night. This automatically reduces the number of sleeping hours and making you fatigue the next day
Alcoholic drinks are known to cause shallow sleep and frequent movements like tossing and turning during the night. A shallow sleep may prevent your brain from maximum rejuvenation and your body will not have enough time to repair your worn out muscles
Jet lag correction
If you are a travelling athlete, you are probably familiar with the effects of jet lag to the body. Due to lack of sleep, you may feel drowsy and worn exhausted. Ensure you arrive a few days earlier so your body can adjust to the time zones and replenish all the energy lost during travelling.
Improve your sleeping environment
Shut down all your electronic devises, close down the curtains and if you live in a noise=y environment, wear noise cancelling headphones. The best way to maximise your sleep is creating a dark, silent environment with minimal disturbance.
Getting the proper amount of sleep is necessary to keep you health and performance on track. Following this routine is guaranteed to make you a top player in your field of athletics. The added benefits of good sleep include better health, better eating habits and successful workouts.