Did you know that consistently sleeping for six hours or less can have the same effect on your brain function as consuming three to five alcoholic beverages?1 Nowadays, sports recovery has become a booming industry, with athletes investing considerable amounts of money in recovery methods such as protein shakes, ice baths, foam rollers, and massage guns. However, a healthy sleeping routine, the most efficient way to revitalize our body, is often overlooked and underused. The irony! It should come as no surprise that a lack of sleep can severely impact your overall well-being, yet the benefits of a good sleeping routine are priceless. In this article, we will explore the importance of sleep for athletes and the positive or negative impact it could have on their lives. Let’s get started!



Unlocking your potential: The Crucial Role of Sleep in Sports

Consistently sleeping for six hours or less can have the same effect on your brain function as three to five alcoholic drinks. Crazy, right? 

February 16th, 2024

Did you know that consistently sleeping for six hours or less can have the same effect on your brain function as consuming three to five alcoholic beverages?1 Nowadays, sports recovery has become a booming industry, with athletes investing considerable amounts of money in recovery methods such as protein shakes, ice baths, foam rollers, and massage guns. However, a healthy sleeping routine, the most efficient way to revitalize our body, is often overlooked and underused. The irony! It should come as no surprise that a lack of sleep can severely impact your overall well-being, yet the benefits of a good sleeping routine are priceless. In this article, we will explore the importance of sleep for athletes and the positive or negative impact it could have on their lives. Let’s get started!



Unlocking your potential: The Crucial Role of Sleep in Sports

Consistently sleeping for six hours or less can have the same effect on your brain function as three to five alcoholic drinks. Crazy, right? 

February 16th, 2024

What happens if we don’t sleep enough?

As much as one-third of the population in the United States isn’t getting enough sleep.4 That is a lot of sleepy people. Not only does this affect our mental health and performance, but it also impacts us physically by putting us at risk for various diseases such as heart problems and diabetes.3 A sleep deficiency also makes it harder for your brain to pick up a new skill or even remember simple things like what you had for dinner. When tired, we are more likely to make mistakes and even injure ourselves during sports.3 Let’s commit to prioritizing our sleep and taking care of ourselves. You’ll be surprised at how much more productive you can be when well-rested. Plus, a little extra time in bed can make us more stress-resistant and confident.3 Who doesn’t want that? And for all the athletes out there, getting enough sleep is crucial for motivation and skill-building. So, let’s ensure we get the rest we need to be our best selves.

What happens when we get enough sleep?

On the other hand, sleeping enough can give you a significant advantage in life. In a Stanford study, ten basketball players who extended their sleeping patterns to 10 hours per night could sprint faster and improved their shooting by as much as nine percent. They also reported feeling fitter physically and mentally.3 Isn’t that amazing? During sleep, our brains eliminate toxins and retain new information, our nerve cells reorganize, and our body can replenish energy and heal.1 People who nap more are often happier, more stress-resistant, and less likely to develop mental health issues.2 Furthermore, it might significantly improve your performance as it helps you pick up new skills and knowledge easier.1 It also enhances our skin and makes us look fresher by giving our face a healthy appearance. And for those who are still not convinced, studies even show that more sleep could enhance your sex drive.1 Imagine waking up well-rested, looking great, and having the confidence and energy to take up a new hobby after work. We can see that napping positively affects every aspect of our lives, and it’s completely free!

The effects of sleep on our sports performance

There are many reasons why sleep improves our sports performance. While we sleep, our body goes into repair mode. We can compare this to a pit stop where a car’s oil is refreshed and new tires are installed. In our body, the brain creates around 1500 new brain cells daily if we give it enough nutrients and sleep.5 Meanwhile, our muscles are reinforced and may grow in size. For athletes, being alert and reacting quickly to their environment is essential. A baseball player, for example, must respond within milliseconds to hit the ball and run to first base. Sleep improves your reaction time, endurance, and accuracy and is vital for good performance.1 It also increases the ability to generate power, which is essential in almost every sport, from kicking a ball as hard as possible into the net to jumping over hurdles on a track.1

Tips for Better Sleep

We hear you thinking: “I tried to go to bed earlier, but it’s impossible to fall asleep.” If this is you, don’t worry! Rome wasn’t built in a day; if it were easy, everyone would do it. The trick is to realize that developing a good sleeping routine is like learning a new language; it takes time and discipline. The following tips can help you in this process:

  1. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. This is the most important rule! Going to bed and waking up at the same time every single day, also on the weekends, is essential so your body knows when it’s time to go to bed. 
  2.  Create a sleep-conducive environment. As bedtime approaches, your body drops about two degrees in temperature. Therefore, you want to aim for a room temperature between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 – 20 degrees Celsuis). We want to reduce noise and make the room as dark as possible. The use of soothing aromas and sounds can help calm our bodies. 
  3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before going to bed. Although alcohol can help you fall asleep, it affects your sleep quality by preventing you from going into a deep sleep. Conversely, caffeine can keep us awake, so after 3 p.m., no more coffee!
  4. Don’t use electronic devices before bedtime. The light from electronic devices can prevent our bodies from releasing the hormones we need to fall asleep. In addition, using our phones while in bed sends mixed signals to our bodies about the purpose of the bed as a place for rest.
  5. Practice relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing. One effective way to fall asleep is through the military method. This technique involves relaxing the muscles on your face, moving down to your arms and hands, and finally to your feet, muscle by muscle. You can also release tension in your chest by exhaling.

Take home message

Rest is essential to re-energize and repair our bodies from daily stress. It is vital for our well-being and helps us focus on our goals. A lack of sleep can lead to fewer learning capabilities, less motivation, and less focus. Athletes who don’t sleep enough risk making more errors and performing less optimally. The recommended amount of sleep is around seven to nine hours per night. By following the tips above, you’ll become so good at sleeping, you’ll be able to do it with your eyes closed. Pun intended.

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Unlocking your potential: The Crucial Role of Sleep in Sports

February 16th, 2024

Consistently sleeping for six hours or less can have the same effect on your brain function as three to five alcoholic drinks. Crazy, right? Let’s get started!

What happens if we don’t sleep enough?

As much as one-third of the population in the United States isn’t getting enough sleep.4 That is a lot of sleepy people. Not only does this affect our mental health and performance, but it also impacts us physically by putting us at risk for various diseases such as heart problems and diabetes.3 A sleep deficiency also makes it harder for your brain to pick up a new skill or even remember simple things like what you had for dinner. When tired, we are more likely to make mistakes and even injure ourselves during sports.3 Let’s commit to prioritizing our sleep and taking care of ourselves. You’ll be surprised at how much more productive you can be when well-rested. Plus, a little extra time in bed can make us more stress-resistant and confident.3 Who doesn’t want that? And for all the athletes out there, getting enough sleep is crucial for motivation and skill-building. So, let’s ensure we get the rest we need to be our best selves.

What happens when we get enough sleep?

On the other hand, sleeping enough can give you a significant advantage in life. In a Stanford study, ten basketball players who extended their sleeping patterns to 10 hours per night could sprint faster and improved their shooting by as much as nine percent. They also reported feeling fitter physically and mentally.3 Isn’t that amazing? During sleep, our brains eliminate toxins and retain new information, our nerve cells reorganize, and our body can replenish energy and heal.1 People who nap more are often happier, more stress-resistant, and less likely to develop mental health issues.2 Furthermore, it might significantly improve your performance as it helps you pick up new skills and knowledge easier.1 It also enhances our skin and makes us look fresher by giving our face a healthy appearance. And for those who are still not convinced, studies even show that more sleep could enhance your sex drive.1 Imagine waking up well-rested, looking great, and having the confidence and energy to take up a new hobby after work. We can see that napping positively affects every aspect of our lives, and it’s completely free!

The effects of sleep on our sports performance

There are many reasons why sleep improves our sports performance. While we sleep, our body goes into repair mode. We can compare this to a pit stop where a car’s oil is refreshed and new tires are installed. In our body, the brain creates around 1500 new brain cells daily if we give it enough nutrients and sleep. Meanwhile, our muscles are reinforced and may grow in size. For athletes, being alert and reacting quickly to their environment is essential. A baseball player, for example, must respond within milliseconds to hit the ball and run to first base. Sleep improves your reaction time, endurance, and accuracy and is vital for good performance. It also increases the ability to generate power, which is essential in almost every sport, from kicking a ball as hard as possible into the net to jumping over hurdles on a track.

Tips for Better Sleep

We hear you thinking: “I tried to go to bed earlier, but it’s impossible to fall asleep.” If this is you, don’t worry! Rome wasn’t built in a day; if it were easy, everyone would do it. The trick is to realize that developing a good sleeping routine is like learning a new language; it takes time and discipline. The following tips can help you in this process:

  1. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. This is the most important rule! Going to bed and waking up at the same time every single day, also on the weekends, is essential so your body knows when it’s time to go to bed.  
  2. Create a sleep-conducive environment. As bedtime approaches, your body drops about two degrees in temperature. Therefore, you want to aim for a room temperature between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 – 20 degrees Celsuis). We want to reduce noise and make the room as dark as possible. The use of soothing aromas and sounds can help calm our bodies. 
  3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before going to bed. Although alcohol can help you fall asleep, it affects your sleep quality by preventing you from going into a deep sleep. Conversely, caffeine can keep us awake, so after 3 p.m., no more coffee!
  4. Don’t use electronic devices before bedtime. The light from electronic devices can prevent our bodies from releasing the hormones we need to fall asleep. In addition, using our phones while in bed sends mixed signals to our bodies about the purpose of the bed as a place for rest.
  5. Practice relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing. One effective way to fall asleep is through the military method. This technique involves relaxing the muscles on your face, moving down to your arms and hands, and finally to your feet, muscle by muscle. You can also release tension in your chest by exhaling.