The Importance of Sleep for Athletes
Many sports performance athletes at Elite spend on average 2-3 days per week training to improve their performance on the field, court, track, or in the pool. Often times these athletes are also participating in their sport 5-6 days per week, playing a secondary sport, on multiple teams at a time, and on top of all of that, they are also actively responsible for doing their schoolwork and preparing for exams and quizzes throughout the school year. To add to the schoolwork, sports, and training, athletes still need to eat, socialize with friends and family, and sleep.
Too often adolescences stay up late, whether they are doing homework, studying, or binge watching their favorite shows on Hulu or Netflix and then get up early the next morning for school or sports. This leaves little time for sleep and ultimately their bodies do not get a full chance to recover from the stress of their sports, training, and day to day lives. Middle school, high school, and college age athletes tend to prioritize activities and neglect their recovery. (But not Elite Manager of Sports Performance, Katie McCarthy…She’s all about setting a good example for our athletes!)
In this blog, we are going to go over a few benefits that sleep has for the body, especially how it relates to athletes and their training and sport.
- Sleep gives your muscles time to repair and grow – the human growth hormone is released during deep sleep and allows for greater tissue repair and muscle growth.
- Adequate sleep reduces the likelihood of injury in training and sports. Being overtired during training/sport can lead to injury due to poor judgement, slower reaction time, and inadequate tissue recovery.
- Sleep helps to improve immune system function.
- Getting enough sleep helps you avoid overtraining – too much training and too little recovery leads to injury, illness, and ultimately time away from your sport.
- Sleep regulates responses to stress on the body and nutrition – when the body and mind are well rested, you are more likely to make better decisions on what you use to fuel your body. You may lean away from processed food and choose healthier options that will allow for optimal sports performance.
Now that we are aware of the many benefits sleep offers for athletes, here are a few ideas to help you sleep better so you can recover more quickly:
- Relax before bed
- Using a relaxation or medication app
- Listening to soothing music
- Taking a bath
- Avoid stimuli while in bed
- Avoid watching TV and scrolling through social media
- Create a bedtime routine
- Mediate, read, journal, or participate in another activity that gives your body notice that it is getting ready for sleep.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
Now go get a good night’s sleep so you’re ready to GET AFTER IT at your next training session at Elite!
We hope you enjoyed this installment of our Sports Performance blog series! If you or an athlete in your family would like to join the Elite Sports Performance community, we offer Sports Performance and Athlete Training programs at both our Foxboro and Stoughton locations. To learn more about our programs for athletes of all ages and sports and how YOU can improve your acceleration, strength, power and performance in the process, click HERE or email us at EliteSPC@EliteFitCenter.com!
See below for details about current Winter Training Special, which will run from January 3 – March 19 at both locations! Sign up today!