Why Sleep Is Important For Athletes
No matter how active you are, getting a full night’s rest is vital in order to stay healthy. When you are an athlete you do everything you can in order to stay in tip-top shape. From training and recovery to supplements and massage therapy. Athletes push their bodies to the max and want to get every last ounce of performance out that they can. Which is why sleep is so vital for athletes.
Getting the right amount of rest and sleep is pivotal in order to get the maximum performance out of your body as possible. Without it, you are playing and performing at a disadvantage. Keep reading to learn more about how sleep can help you max out your athletic potential.
Make sure you get your stretches daily: A Guide To Stretching – AM & PM Routines
Sleep is Recovery Time:
The first thing we think of when it comes to sleep, is that it is the optimal resource of recovery time. We all need sleep and we all need time for our muscles to recover in order to continue training and muscle development.
Rest and recovery go hand in hand. Your body doubles down on recovery during the deep phases of sleep. Without it, you are cheating your recovery time short and it will take much longer for your body to recover when you are awake.
If you are working on gaining muscle mass, then we highly recommend getting at least 6 – 8 hours of sleep each night. We say this because sleep enhances muscle recovery. It does this through protein synthesis and human growth hormone release during REM sleep. When you skimp on your sleep, you are skimping on your muscle growth.
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You Train As You Sleep:
According to neuroscientist and sleep expert, Dr. Matthew Walker, there was a study done tracking brain waves when someone was learning something new.
For example a pianist learning a new song. The brainwaves they went through while practicing the new song were repeated when they slept. Except the difference is that the brain did this in super speed while sleeping. Even pin pointing trouble spots and smoothing them out. Leading to better playing of the song the next day.
What this study suggests is that your brain continues to train the brain on how to do physical activities during sleep. Which means you continue to train when you sleep. Not only is your brain continuing the practice and training process during sleep, it does this at nearly 10 times the speed it takes to do it while you’re awake. Making sleep an incredible tool for training or learning new combinations etc.
Learn about the affects the Keto Diet has on your sleep in our post: Does The Ketogenic Diet Affect Your Sleep?
Sleep Increases Athletic Performance:
One of the worst things you can do as an athlete, is skimp on sleep. Sleep is an all natural performance enhancer. When you are sleep deprived it can severely impact your performance in a negative way.
Getting a quality 6-9 hours of sleep during the night is one of the best ways you can insure you are performing at your peak. When you stay up late, wake up early, or change up your sleep schedule it can mean you lack the vital REM sleep you need in order to rejuvenate your body.
If you are looking to get a leg up on your competition, go to sleep. If you are sleep deprived, you simply won’t be performing at your best. Which of course is not what any athlete wants.
Sleep Keeps Athletes Healthy:
For athletes, your body is your biggest tool. When you are not healthy, you are unable to compete or perform. Staying healthy and avoiding illnesses and getting sick is very important.
Whenever you are sick you cannot train, practice, or compete. Instead you have to press pause on everything until you can get better. Which is why staying healthy and avoiding illness is especially important for athletes.
Getting a healthy amount of sleep each night is one of the best ways to avoid sickness. Our immune system is unable to function properly when you are sleep deprived. Which makes it much easier to get sick.
If you want a strong immune system in order to stay healthy, make sure you are getting all the sleep your body needs every night. Even one night of poor sleep can negatively impact your immune system.
Get more information on how sleep helps you fight illnesses in our post: Sleep and Your Immune System
Physical Activity Increases Sleep Drive:
The great news is that rigorous physical activity typically increases sleep drive at night. Sleep drive is the urge to go to sleep. Athletes are often exercising on a regular basis, all of this training and working out is great for increasing sleep drive. Which will thankfully make it much easier to get to sleep at night.
Don’t worry about training at night, this can also increase sleep drive. Our one point of advice is to be mindful of pre workouts in the evenings. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 6 hours.
Which means that pre workout could make it much more difficult to get to sleep after your evening gym session. Other than that, as long as you are giving yourself around an hour of cooldown, your evening workouts should only make it easier to get to sleep at night.
Learn more about exercise and sleep in our post: Exercise and Sleep: Is Exercise Good For Sleep?
Rest Your Heart:
Of course we often think about giving our muscle groups like the upper body, and lower body breaks in order to rest and recover. However, we don’t often think about allowing one of our most vital muscles in our body, the heart.
Our heart are made up of a compact group of muscles that are obviously vital for our health and wellbeing. Our hearts are always working and pumping for us. However, excessive cardio can strengthen our hearts, it is still good to give your heart time to rest and recover.
Our heartrate slows as we sleep, giving it time to take a break from our day to day activities. Especially, if you are doing some form of physical activity daily. Sleep deprivation can be downright dangerous for your heart health.
Learn more about the negative impacts of sleep deprivation in our post: The Importance of Sleep & Why Do We Sleep?
Best Mattresses For Athletes:
Sleep is so imporatant for athletes that there are literally mattress brands that are dedicated to making mattresses optimized for athletes. Below are several amazing mattress options that are specifically made for optimal repair and recovery while you sleep.
- Bear Hybrid Mattress | BEST Overall | BUY HERE!
- Bear Pro Mattress | BEST for Side Sleepers | BUY HERE!
- Original Bear Mattress | BEST for Stomach Sleepers | BUY HERE!
- Spartan Mattress | BEST Luxury | BUY HERE!
- Propel Mattress | BEST for Combination Sleepers | BUY HERE!
- Molecule 1 Mattress | Latest Coupon Automatically Applied | BUY HERE!
- Molecule 2 Mattress | Latest Coupon Automatically Applied | BUY HERE!
Learn more about these mattresses in our post: Best Mattress for Athletes
Top Sleep Accessories For Athletes:
Not only are there several awesome mattresses but several sleep accessories just for athletes too. Below are our top picks for sleep accessories that can make it easier for athletes to get a great night’s sleep.
- Bear Mattress Topper| BEST Overall | BUY HERE!
- Bear Cooling Pillow | BEST for Back & Stomach Sleepers | BUY HERE!
- ChiliPad | BEST for Moderating Temperature | BUY HERE!
- Comma Comforter | Antimicrobial Comforter | BUY HERE!
- FitBit Charge 3 | Fitness & Sleep Tracker | BUY AT OVERSTOCK.COM
On the hunt for your ideal pillow? Check out our top Pillow Reviews for this year!
Sleep Benefits For Athletes – Final Thoughts:
Of course we all need sleep, however getting enough sleep is extra important for athletes. There are so many benefits to a great night’s sleep, as well as many potential issues caused by sleep deprivation. Which is why we believe a full night of sleep should be a daily part of your fitness and training schedule. Without the huge benefits of rest and recovery time, your game is going to struggle. We hope this added information and product recommendations help you to get great sleep.
Have a question for us? Send us a message through our Contact Us page! We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.