Whether you are a pro-athlete, constantly on the road with a grueling training schedule, or, you're a working Mom trying to fit in a couple yoga classes per week between finishing work and after-school pick-up, sleep hygiene often falls to the very bottom of the priority list, especially when it comes to training. For an athlete at any level, taking care of the specific athletic needs of your body is imperative so you can continue to perform at your best.
"Simply put," Fatigue Science, leader in fatigue-related risk management and human performance optimization, says, "a good night's sleep can mean the difference between winning and losing in professional sports."
Sleep effects athletic performance on both physical and psychological levels, significantly impacting:
- recovery time
- reaction times
- injury rates
- decision-making ability
- overall health (missed games/practices due to illness)
- overall length of playing career
Jana Webb, founder of Joga, explains:
"Sleep is imperative for the sustainability of an athlete both short term and long term. Without proper sleep, an athlete can not recover properly. Sleep increases HGH (human growth hormone) was is necessary for the cellular rejuvenation and muscle repair, it decreases the stress hormone cortisol, which is a hormone that, if is in excess, impedes optimal body function and it restores the brain and cognitive function. Without sleep, an athlete’s reactions times aren’t as quick – which can effect performance and increase the risk of injury. Without sleep, an athlete’s immune system is jeopardized which, in the course of a vigorous season, can lend to illness and games missed --which over time, effects the longevity of that athlete’s career."
Lebron James gets 12 hours of sleep per night. Roger Federer gets 11-12 hours of sleep per night. Jarrod Shoemaker says that, "sleep is half my training." Steve Nash admits, "For me, sleeping well could mean the difference between putting up 30 points or living with 15."
Now, knowing the important impact sleep has your overall athletic performance and your ability to recover, don't simply use sleep hygiene as a defensive tactic--use it as an offensive weapon.
The average person doesn't have 12 hours a day to invest in rest--it's not a realistic plan for everyone, but, that doesn't mean you still can't count sheep to count wins ;). Try our three simple steps to make sleep your secret weapon to get the performance edge on your opposition:
1. Maintain a consistent sleep and wake schedule during training, whether it’s pre-season or during play. Allowing for enough sleep to recover and wake-up feeling energized.
2. Make it an absolute priority to get a good sleep before game or race day. Remember that your performance is directly related to sleep--not just the quantity, but also the quality. If at all possible, schedule time for a power nap--just a 20-30 min power nap improves your alertness by 100%.
3. Adjust your training according to your recovery. Poor sleep can be both indicative of over-training and a contributing factor to it. Training while injured or exhausted can lead to more injury and delayed progress. To help you recover more quickly, you can try incorporating sleep products made with cooling gel tech memory foam and ice yarn to help soothe sore muscles overnight and help you heal.
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