My son had a rather lackluster outing at the ball field this week. It’s spring break and he is 15. It’s hard to find a balance as an athlete making sure “fun” is peppered in with the the work ethic of an athlete. As a mother, I want my kids to be well-balanced and to experience all life has to offer at all ages.
Long story short, he’s been averaging maybe 6 hours a sleep a night over the past few nights. No wonder he didn’t perform well, right? We talked about it as a family and Nick agreed, his sleep is important. But we promised to allow some “play” time too and give him days he can sleep in that aren’t game days.
These next articles and studies go to show you…if you want to be an athlete, you need sleep!
Athletic performance was assessed after each regularly scheduled swim practice. After obtaining extra sleep, athletes swam a 15-meter meter sprint 0.51 seconds faster, reacted 0.15 seconds quicker off the blocks, improved turn time by 0.10 seconds and increased kick strokes by 5.0 kicks.
Still not convinced? Read this:
The study, authored by Cheri Mah of Stanford University, was conducted on six healthy students on the Stanford men’s basketball team, who maintained their typical sleep-wake patterns for a two-week baseline followed by an extended sleep period in which they obtained as much extra sleep as possible. Significant improvements in athletic performance were observed, including faster sprint time and increased free-throws. Athletes also reported increased energy and improved mood during practices and games, as well as a decreased level of fatigue.
And I love this article on WebMD on how sleep or lack of it affects performance:
- Before puberty, children and young teens function better early in the day than in the afternoon and evening.
- During and after puberty, teens perform worst in the morning.
- All kids’ performance benefits from routine, adequate sleep on a regular schedule.
- Teen teams that travel west across time zones have an advantage early in the day.
- High school or college teams that take long training trips are likely to have schedule problems when they come home. This is especially true for teams on the East Coast that travel west.