We all know that good sleep is vital for performance, but when it comes to athletes, do they need more rest than usual?
Take a look at the science below.
For most people, the average amount of sleep needed tends to be between 7-9 hours, although this does vary with age.
For athletes, the numbers are higher.
Similar to how athletes need more calories for their high intensity training, they also need more sleep, around one hour extra each night, pulling the amount up to a recommended average of 10 hours!
Athletes are also encouraged to take regular afternoon naps for quick energy boosts in the day, it’s also advised that they head to bed early and wake up early too.
So, why all the fuss? How does a lack of sleep affect athletes?
Well, the truth is – athletes are affected massively by just one hour drop in their usual sleep patterns.
We need sleep for energy and overall performance, meaning that a decrease in athletes’ sleep leads to poor performance, lack of stamina and energy and general fatigue.
The more active the person, the harder fatigue tends to hit.
Leading a busy lifestyle as an athlete can be tricky, especially when it comes to fitting in good sleep.
Check out these athlete sleep tips here.
- Set a schedule! Athletes already lead a regimented lifestyle in terms of training, therefore slotting a sleep routine into the mix seems to work well alongside their other activities. Aiming to fall asleep and get up at same time each day really works to decrease fatigue and fight insomnia.
- Athletes tend to travel a lot for games, tournaments and events, meaning their sleep schedule tends to suffer, which can in turn start to affect their performance. A great way to get around this is to arrive in the location days or even weeks before the actual event, this allows your body to acclimatise to the new surroundings and will really work to shake off jet lag and fatigue.
- Avoid sleep medication. Certain sleep supplements can make waking up a difficult and drowsy affair, and if you’re heading to morning training, it can be tough to wake up and get out the door. There are plenty of other ways to encourage sleep, from sleep hygiene through to sleep hypnosis and pillow sprays.
- Reduce caffeine. If you’re coming up to an important event, it’s probably best to start cutting out caffeine a few days prior to ensure that you’re sleeping well and performing at your best.