Proper Amount of Sleep Is As Important As Any Workout

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More coaches need to recognize the importance of sleep for athletics and apply lessons from sleep research in training regimens.

Let’s focus on a topic that’s vastly overlooked.

While it’s something that most of us enjoy, too often it’s taken for granted or ignored. Why? It’s the ultimate passive activity, considered by many as the least productive part of their lives.

I’m talking about sleep.

With millions of us deficient regarding our sleep patterns, it’s clear that we need more and better sleep. The plain truth is this: most of us need more sleep than we’re getting.

Surveys conducted between 1999-2004 by the American Psychological Association showed that over 70 different sleep disorders were represented in more than 40 million Americans. Up to to 60% Americans reported that they experience sleep issues at least a few nights a week.

About 70% of children experience sleep problems a few nights a week. Is it any wonder, then, that kids often seem lost in space during practice?

Although we all have differing needs for the amount of sleep, the general rule is that humans are built for about 16 hours of conscious thought and approximately eight hours of sleep per day. Some people report they only need six hours of sleep, while others state they need ten hours.

The guideline to follow is that children up to age 17-18 need closer to 9 hours of sleep per night to achieve/maintain proper physical development and cognitive functioning.

Courtesy: Athletics Weekly

A lot of important things happen during sleep. Cells repair, muscles grow, growth hormone is produced, and protein synthesis occurs. One fascinating process is how the rush of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) through the brain washes out waste created by the massive amount of work done each day by brain cells.

If those things don’t happen, then our bodies will not be able to grow or repair as needed. We won’t feel as energized or as mentally clear.

Additionally, skipping sleep can drastically lower testosterone levels in as little as ONE WEEK. Lower testosterone levels are linked directly linked to lower energy, concentration problems, higher fatigue levels, and decreased strength.

The University of Chicago Medical Center studied 10 healthy men, age 18-23, who were deprived of sleep for one week. Tests showed a 10-15% drop in their testosterone levels. And we all know what testosterone does for athletes.

More coaches need to recognize the importance of sleep in athletics and apply lessons from sleep research in training regimens.



Read more insights from Coach Morgan Sullivan at his site.


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