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How a Good Night’s Sleep Can Improve Your Athletic Performance
The Science Behind Sleep and Athletic Performance
The idea of needing a good night’s sleep to perform your best athletically is nothing new – but it’s only in recent years that scientists have begun to uncover the science behind it. Recent research has concluded that sleeping is a critical factor in improving athletic performance and recovery, due to its influence on physical performance, mental function and overall health.
Sleep plays an important role in your athletic performance by helping your body recover and recharge after tough workouts. Sleep deprivation can cause fatigue, decreased physical and mental performance, and even decreased bone density and muscle strength. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can cause athletes to become more prone to injuries, be less able to concentrate, and lose the ability to think critically.
A 2017 study found that for athletes who were used to sleeping 7-9 hours each night, sleeping for 9 to 10 hours a night was linked to improved reaction time and better overall physical performance. Furthermore, a lack of sleep has also been linked to decreased performance in endurance athletes, such as a decrease in running speed and a decrease in the muscles’ ability to resist fatigue.
2 Good Strategies to Improve Sleep and Performance
1. Set a Bedtime Routine: Getting into a regular sleep schedule will help you get more restful sleep. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time every day and make sure your bedtime routine is consistent. A few steps to make your bedtime routine more relaxing include:
- Avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime.
- Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and comfortable.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals close to bedtime.
- Create a calming environment by using aromatherapy, such as lavender or chamomile.
2. Exercise Regularly: Regular exercise has multiple benefits for improving sleep, including reducing stress and improving your overall fitness level. Exercising during the day can help to fatigue your muscles and make sleeping easier when the time comes. However, make sure not to exercise too close to bedtime, as the rush of adrenaline can have the opposite effect and make it more difficult to sleep.
Sleep is an important factor in athletic performance and overall health — getting the recommended amount of sleep can improve reaction time, physical performance and overall health. The most important thing to keep in mind is to maintain a regular sleep schedule and to avoid exercising too close to bedtime. With these tips, you can give yourself the best chance to perform your best athletically and stay healthy.