Athletes keep track of many things during training. Diet and exercise are at the top of the priority list. Equipment is always top notch and discipline is used to keep the regimen on track.
But what about athletes and sleep? Many athletes will sacrifice sleep in order to train a little more, or get a few more reps in at the gym. With this lack of sleep, athletic performance can be affected in a negative way. Sleep and athletic performance are closely intertwined and here are some of the ways sleep for athletes affects the body as well as overall performance.
Metabolic Rate – Sleep for athletes has a real, physical impact on everyday performance. In 2003 a study was conducted examining the impact of sleep on metabolic rate. When normal sleepers were compared to people who had a certain type of insomnia (they felt like they weren’t sleeping well even though according to EEG readings they were sleeping just fine). Research showed that there was a significant difference in metabolism values, with the normal sleepers having greater metabolism values. If sleep is interrupted or not prioritized then the metabolism suffers and it will be difficult for an athlete to maintain peak health and could even affect an athlete’s weigh-in numbers without having to change diet at all.
Mind Body Connection – There is a correlation between sleep and athletics. The mind/body connection is important in very simple ways. If an athlete does not sleep enough, there is a higher chance for using sleep disrupting products like caffeine or other stimulants to alleviate that tired, sluggish feeling that comes with not getting enough sleep. Using stimulants to wake up can create a very unhealthy cycle of using things to fall asleep and then using things to wake up, eventually driving the body to be more and more tired during everyday activities as well as athletic training.
Mood and Training – When you get enough sleep you are less likely to feel crabby and fatigued. This will allow you to have a good attitude, which is the cornerstone of any athletic success.
If you are an athlete, take a closer look at your training schedule and find a way to add more sleep. Athletes need to take care of their bodies in order to operate at peak performance, and your training is no exception. Adding enough sleep to your daily workout will help you perform to the best of your ability.