Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep offers many benefits to your physical, mental, and emotional health. But with athletes, these benefits come into even greater focus. From accelerating post-exercise recovery to enhancing endurance, sleep can do wonders for an athlete’s performance.
Here, we take a look at five ways in which getting a good night’s sleep can help you improve your athletic performance and output in the gym.
1. Muscle Recovery
Post-exercise muscle recovery is one of the most important things that athletes should focus on. The body repairs itself while you rest, and when you get enough sleep, your body is able to accelerate recovery and muscle building. This, in turn, results in increased strength and endurance. Athletes who don’t get proper sleep typically suffer from longer recovery times and, ultimately, poor performance.
2. Memorization of Movements/Exercises
Getting enough quality sleep means that your mental focus will be improved. This has a massive impact on your memorization of movements or exercises that you do in the gym. If you’re having trouble focusing or memorizing movements during your training sessions, this can result in injury.
In addition to your mental focus, lack of sleep can also affect your mood, as well as your stress levels. If you’re involved in endurance sports, make sure you get the right amount of sleep so you can prevent mental fatigue and fuel your ability to keep your head in the game.
3. Improved Reaction Time
Athletes who don’t get enough rest suffer from slower reaction times. If you don’t get enough quality sleep, it leads to fatigue which can significantly reduce your reaction time, resulting in degraded athletic performance. By getting the right amount of sleep, your reaction times will be improved, resulting in higher performance and better results.
4. Reduced Risk of Injury
With improved reaction times comes the added benefit of being able to reduce the risk of injury during exercise or training. As an athlete, the amount of sleep you get impacts your attention, focus, and physical recovery as well. When you’re well-rested, you are less prone to injury resulting from impaired functions.
5. More Energy and Endurance
Physical recovery is vital to your athletic performance. Since the body works to restore itself during sleep, the better-quality rest you get, the more energetic and focused you can expect to be at the gym or during your training. With more energy and focus, comes increased endurance. All of this results in enhanced performance overall.
Without adequate sleep, your body will be wasting precious resources trying to stay awake or stay alert and focused instead of boosting energy and endurance. So, if you want to see real results from any of your intense training efforts, it’s important to ensure that you get enough sleep each night.
As you can see, sleep has a major effect on how well you perform as an athlete. There’s a lot that you stand to gain by getting the right amount of quality sleep every night. You can start now to improve your sleep by following these helpful tips:
- Have a comfortable bed, pillows, sheets, etc. to make your sleep more pleasant.
- Practice good sleep hygiene every night to make your rest more comfortable.
- Follow a sleep schedule that is consistent, even on weekends.
- Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary, not a dining room, TV room, etc.
- Avoid exercising too late at night, reschedule your workout for the morning.
- Use essential oils and drink sleep-inducing herbal tea such as chamomile.
- Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine for a few hours before bed.
- Power down all your devices before bedtime – particularly those that emit blue light.
Contributed by Christine Huegel at Mattress Advisor