The NFL season is in full swing. This means players get beat up in a game, and then have a week or less for their bodies to recover. All the while, they have to learn game plans and their next opponent’s tendencies. For players, particularly the younger ones who haven’t “seen it all,” a good night’s sleep can mean all of the difference in the world.
Writing for the website “Football Educator”, Christine J. Jones, a researcher at Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine Center, says sleep is one of the most crucial elements in a player’s preparation and execution during training camp.
“While sleep often does not come to mind as a preparation tool, it is potentially one of the most important and easiest provisions to capitalize upon,” said Jones. “A few days to a week before camp begins, start extending nightly sleep. Prioritize sleeping longer.”
Jones also suggests that players nap each day between practices and understand that overtraining and extreme physical activity can negatively impact sleep.
What Jones doesn’t mention, however, is that much of her advice can be useful for the average non-football player as well. A nap in the middle of the day during a strenuous workday is a great idea, if your boss allows it. Additionally, it’s important for all of us to know that a busy and stressful work week can absolutely impact how well we sleep. Steps to take to alleviate this stress include reading a calming book or listening to quiet music before bed, or taking a warm (but not hot) bath. Jones suggests that players look at their sleep hygiene, which is a fantastic idea for all of us.