Being an athlete requires hard work and dedication. In addition to proper training and nutrition, sleep can have a great impact on your performance. Many studies have shown that an adequate night’s rest is essential for body recovery.
How much you should sleep varies per person. Some individuals need more and some less. The necessary amount is also dependent on how active you are during your daily life.
Each night we go through a sleep cycle that involves 4 stages and REM, or Rapid Eye Movement. REM is crucial. During this time, energy is provided to the brain and body.
Because we cycle through these stages throughout the night, it is recommended that we sleep an average of 7-8 hours each night. It is after a couple hours into your sleep that you enter REM. In REM, you dream and undergo fast body processes. These involve muscle recovery. Sleep depends on your activity level because the more work you do, the more damage it creates. More damage requires more sleep to repair it.
What happens if you don’t get a good night’s rest?
Simply put, your athletic performance suffers.
Lack of sleep can lead to fatigue, decline in energy, loss of focus, and especially important for athletes, a slower recovery.
It can also inhibit progression, make you more susceptible to sickness, and slow your reflexes. Additionally, studies have found that poor sleep can influence your decision making. It can actually lead to a decline in split second decision making. This split second doesn’t seem like much, but it can make all the difference in a competition.
Don’t have time to sleep?
Take a nap! This is a great alterative for raking up your sleep hours and it even adds some recovery during the day.
Sleep on it!