Improve Your Performance With Sleep
When you're working on improving your performance, more training is likely your priority. But sleep is an essential factor in fitness and performance, and you need it for physical recovery and mental clarity. Without enough sleep, you're at a higher risk for injuries and may suffer from decreased performance in school as well.
Avoid Injuries With Sleep
Adequate sleep is one of the most critical factors in avoiding injuries among adolescent athletes. In a recent study, athletes who got enough sleep at night (eight hours or more) were 68 percent less likely to experience an injury than those who were sleep deprived. Adequate rest and grade in school were the two key factors that were associated with greater injury risk, with older athletes experiencing more injuries than older ones.
Improve School Performance With Sleep
Performance off the track matters, too, and sleep can help you keep your grades up. In fact, the difference between an F and an A grade could be just 25 minutes of sleep each night. A study of student sleep habits indicated that students with lower grades ranging from C to F typically sleep 25 minutes less each night than students who get As and Bs. Generally, the study found that sleeping longer than eight hours and 15 minutes per night is associated with better daytime functioning, including better grades.
Prioritize Sleep for Better Performance
Most student-athletes understand that sleep is an important part of recovery. A study of elite adolescent athletes found that sleep, along with nutrition and active recovery, is a priority for adolescent athletes. However, their behaviors did not reflect sleep and other recovery options as a priority. Athletes often have significant demands on their time, including school, training, traveling to track meets, and social activities that may take priority over sleep. Adolescent athletes need support from coaches and parents, as athletes often want to take recovery time, but don't always do so.
Mary Lee is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck.com. She specializes in sleep's role in mental and physical health and wellness. Mary lives in Olympia, Washington and shares her full-sized bed with a very noisy cat.