When trying to improve one’s athletic performance, training efforts tend to be in the spotlight. However, the body is a complex machine, and true athletic performance requires a multifaceted approach. One of the critical factors that directly impact athletic performance is sleep hygiene. Yet, this tends to get sacrificed for other activities and priorities. Improving your sleep habits could be the key to truly levelling up and accomplishing your sporting goals. Follow on for 5 Ways Sleep Affects Your Athletic Performance!
1. Allows Muscle Recovery
Improved strength, conditioning, and muscle mass come from putting your body through strategic periods of targeted stress — i.e., exercise. While exercise is a good form of stress, your body still needs to recover from it. In fact, it’s during the recovery process that your muscles get bigger and stronger, not during the training itself.
Adequate sleep is a necessity for rebuilding muscle, so choose the perfect mattress online for your sleep position and create a practical sleep routine. Experts recommend getting between 7-9 hours of per night, with elite, dedicated athletes aiming for the full nine. Several studies show that Olympic and professional-level athletes saw an increase in performance with ten or more hours.
This recovery period also impacts injury prevention. If your muscles aren’t sufficiently repaired before your next training session, you’re more likely to sustain an injury. It’s better to dedicate an extra hour to sleep each night than to spend weeks laid up and unable to perform.
2. Assists with Immune Function
Intense exercise causes a temporary dip in your body’s immune response. While this temporary side effect of training typically doesn’t cause a problem, it could become one when paired with sleep deprivation. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to get sick — pair that with intense exercise, and you’ve got a recipe for this year’s cold and flu.
During sleep, your body produces a protein; cytokines which combats inflammation and infection. In other words, good sleep is the foundation of your immune response. Failing to allow for proper sleep could result in your inability to fight off germs and derail your training progress.
3. Improves Focus & Cognition
Athletic performance isn’t just what your body can do; it’s also what your mind can endure. If you’ve woken up feeling foggy and unfocused after a night of restlessness, it should come as no surprise that sleep plays a vital role in your cognitive function.
Getting enough will give you the focus you need to give it your all during athletic training. Your focus also plays an integral role in specific performance metrics, like coordination and reaction time. This factor is an important consideration if you play sports like soccer, volleyball or basketball.
4. Improves Motivation
Feeling well-rested and energized could be the difference between motivating yourself to commit to your training or staying in bed. The general feeling of malaise that comes from inadequate sleep and recovery goes hand-in-hand with motivation. It’s challenging to work up the drive to do anything when you feel tired.
5. Impacts Metabolism & Hormones
Finally, poor sleep impacts your hormonal response and metabolism. The deeper you sleep, the better your body becomes at ensuring all your systems are running on optimum. If you don’t get enough sleep, you may struggle with weight management and hormonal regulation that impacts your progress.
For example, if you’re a powerlifter or wrestler trying to drop a weight class, you’re unlikely to accomplish your goal if you aren’t getting enough rest.
When trying to improve your athletic performance, you must look beyond training and consider the inner workings of your body. Sleep is a foundational aspect of health, wellness, and recharging your endocrine (mood and emotion) system so don’t neglect this vital aspect of your athletic performance if you want to succeed!