Vitamin Zzz, aka sleep, is one of the best performance enhancers. On the flip side, lack of sleep has detrimental effects on performance. Athletes with good sleep quality are able to train harder, recover faster, and perform better. And take note: if you think you can drink coffee at night and still sleep fine, think again.
According to an NCAA study, one-third of student-athletes get less than seven hours of sleep per night, with the greater number being females.
How Much Sleep Is Enough?
More than 6 hours a night. Very few athletes can perform well with less than that. Top athletes commonly strive to get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each day, including a nap between 1:00 and 4:00 pm (a later nap results in poorer sleep that night).
Teens should target 8 to 10 hours and adults 7 to 9 hours. Lack of sleep can significantly impact your diet. After two nights with only 4 to 5 hours of sleep, appetite increases about 20%.
Below is a shortlist of the many ways lack of sleep affects athletes.
The Impact of Lack of Sleep
Snacking more than usual (on fatty foods)
Eating fewer fruits and veggies
Consuming more calories ~ on average 385 additional calories
Try to avoid arguments right before you go to bed.
Release your daily activity every night through journaling.
Create a “wind-down” routine before bedtime.
It’s difficult for student-athletes to meet the 8-10 required hours of sleep recommended for teens. However, understanding the implications of lack of sleep will hopefully trigger you to pay more attention to your health.
Athletes who understand the benefits of sleep tend to sleep about 20 minutes more than other athletes.