Being an athlete requires mental and physical work; food, exercise and training have always been the key indicators, however, the recent focus is on sleep and how this is as vital or if not the vital part of an athlete’s performance.
The missing factor to win is often sleep. Some coaches are only now starting to focus on sleep as a key part of competition.
A 2011 study at Stanford University School of Medicine showed that college-age basketball players improved their on-court performance by increasing their amount of total sleep time.
Athletes may be able to optimize training and competition results by identifying strategies to maximize the benefits of sleep.
Extra tips to a good night sleep:
1. Say no to Red Bull. Don’t ingest caffeine after 4 p.m. Caffeine’s effects can last for hours after consumption.
2. Avoid night activities, such as computer games and action movies
3. Follow a regular non-stimulating bedtime routine
4. Eat a healthy diet and exercise
5. If you nap, keep it less than an hour
Without enough sleep, teen athletes are more likely to sustain injuries.
According to an abstract presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics conference last fall, adolescent athletes who slept eight or more hours each night were 68 percent less likely to be injured than athletes who regularly slept less.
“We know that sleep deprivation affects proprioception — the sense of balance that allows you to feel your weight shifting, even when your eyes are closed,” says Dr. Michael Landers, a sports medicine specialist on the medical staff of Texas Health Spine & Orthopedic Centre in Plano.