I came across an interesting article in Sports Illustrated magazine, discussing the relationship between sleep and performance, and the importance of maintaining an appropriate sleep schedule, especially for athletes.
Our country, as a whole, suffers from a “staggering amount of sleep deficiency,” according to Dr. Charles Czeisler, director of the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School. And athletes are especially affected, due to their exhaustive schedule of workouts, practices, and games.
According to Dr. Czeisler, the impact of inadequate sleep includes:
- Slower reaction time
- Decreased precision
- Poor balance and coordination
- Missed signals in your visual field
- Increased irritability
- Greater propensity to getting sick
- More inflammation; slower healing from injuries
- Duller memory
- Burnout, exhaustion, and depression
The doctor, who has worked as a consultant to the NBA (as well as NASA and the Secret Service), says athletes should sleep at least 8.2 to 8.4 hours per day. Here are some of his sleep tips:
- Establish a routine. Go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day.
- Unplug at night. Get rid of distractions in the bedroom — especially electronics.
- Aim for 9 hours. Athletes may need even more sleep than the average person.
- Nap in the afternoon. If you sleep only five to six hours per night, an afternoon snooze can help (it works for LeBron and Kobe).
- Don’t overextend yourself. You can’t compensate for lost sleep by one long night of sleep.
Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!