More sleep improves athletic performance

Athletes showed improvements in performance of training drills after extending their regular sleep hours and reducing accumulated sleep debt.

The study by the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory at Stanford University in CA made it clear to athletes the importance of sleep on their overall performance:

“Traditionally, elite athletes dedicate numerous hours to daily practice, strength training, and conditioning as well as work closely with nutritionists in hopes of optimizing their athletic performance,” said Mah. “However, very little, if any, attention is focused on an athlete’s sleeping patterns and habits. While most athletes and coaching staff may believe that sleep is an important contributing factor in sports, many do not realize that optimal or peak performance can only occur when an athlete’s sleep and sleep habits are optimal.”

The athletes were monitored for three weeks during their regular tennis season, and then requested to sleep for 10 hours a night for a period of five to six weeks. Mood and daytime sleepiness were monitored, and the study was conducted specifically during the regular tennis season to provide data during weekly practices as well as during tournaments and competitions.

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