Today, athletes are always looking for the edge over their opponents to enhance their performance. It is common for athletes today to commit themselves to excellence through their dedication to intense weight training regiments, strict dieting and gruelling practice schedules. However, there is one performance enhancer that is commonly overlooked by athletes who are striving for greatness. And frankly, it is a priority that athletes simply cannot afford to overlook anymore. Plus, it is completely legal and free! What is that you might ask? Well, of course the mattress people are here to tell you more about the importance of sleep!
Whether you are an amateur athlete training to do your first triathlon or a member of our beloved Wallabies preparing to take on the Lions this month, the importance of sleep for you as an athlete is critical to maximising your athletic ability and your performance when it counts. Still looking for some reasons to believe us?
Here are five ways sleep can affect your athletic performance.
It can be the difference between defeat and victory for any athlete. Whether it is a swimmer getting off the starting block or a batsman reacting to a bowl, athletes’ reaction time can affect the entire outcome of a competition. And quick reaction time starts with a good night’s sleep. The side effects of inadequate sleep can be detrimental to your performance.
Whether recovering from injury or just an exhausting training session, your body depends on certain stages of sleep to produce Human Growth Hormone (HGH). This hormone is essential to proteins your body requires for muscle development and recovery because it is what helps your muscles to repair while growing thicker and stronger.
Sleep has a tremendous impact on mood and a lack of sleep can have a very negative impact on the athlete’s mentality. An athlete who is sleep-deprived will tend to think they are more fatigued than they actually are. Additionally, the body will produce more cortisol, a hormone that tends to be released in great times of stress. A bad mood combined with higher levels of stress is a formula for under performing.
When your body is getting an adequate amount of sleep, there is a burst of brain activity which increases the release of calcium. This calcium is crucial in order to release enzymes that are responsible for promoting muscle memory for step by step sequences. This process can only be induced by sleep. These bursts mostly take place between the 6th and 8th hours of sleep so sleep-deprivation will prevent you from truly mastering your golf swing or penalty kick.
As an athlete, you need your immune system to keep you strong and able for match day. Without a strong immune system, your body runs the risk of injury and/or illness. Don’t be the teammate that has to stay home in bed on match day because you are sick. Get the 8 to 9.25 hours of sleep that is suggested for athletes and help maximise your performance!