Sleep Recovery & Performance

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Sleep Game Strong

Sleep & Sports Performance

Five Reasons why Sleep is so Important for Athletes

Sleep isn’t just important for muscle repair and growth, it’s also important for an athlete’s mental state and performance. An athlete is recommended to get seven to nine hours of sleep a night for ultimate performance results.

Here’s five reasons why it’s so important to get enough rest.

It will help your reaction times

Everyone knows that a lack of sleep makes it hard to function the following day. Your brain seems to slow down and in turn, so does your body.

As an athlete you need to be on top of your game and cannot afford to have such slow reaction times.

Getting a good night’s sleep will increase your alertness, allowing your sports performance to increase. It doesn’t matter how well you’ve trained, if you haven’t been sleeping well in the week leading up to a big game, chances are your training won’t help at all.

Decreases your risk of injury

As fatigue affects reaction times, a tired athlete is more likely to injure themselves purely out of a lack of care and attention to what they are doing. A lack of sleep also affects the body’s immune system, making an athlete more likely to develop a common cold or other fitness inflicting injuries. A shortened sleep gives less time for the body’s cells to repair from the strenuous activities performed by an athlete on a day to day basis, which over time can wear down on the body

Cohen and colleagues conducted a study in 2009 which found that people who had less than seven hours of sleep were 2.94 times more likely to develop a cold when infected with a cold virus, compared with those who had eight of more hours of sleep.


Less mental errors

The amount of sleep an athlete gets will affect memory, focus and motivation. The brain struggles to learn new information when tired, which leaves training sessions pointless and makes games harder to concentrate on.


Decreases stress

The stress hormone cortisol is controlled by deep sleep, which ultimately controls the body’s ability to digest glucose. Sports endurance in games relies on this digestion, which means athletes need to get a good, restful sleep be able to exercise for longer periods of time.

The growth hormone is also made during sleep, which is needed for muscle repair, muscle growth, bone growth and promoting fat oxidation.


Creates an anabolic state

Sleeping creates an anabolic state in which adrenaline levels and corticosteroids drop and the body produces human growth hormone. All tissue is repaired noticeably quicker whilst asleep. Melatonin, another hormone, is produced to help us sleep. This hormone also helps control bodily rhythms and sleep cycles.

The bottom line is that all athletes need to get in more sleep to perform better in all aspects of training and improve themselves both mentally and physically. Getting in just half an hour more by reducing screen time before bed will help massively, and is highly recommended to improve your overall fitness and sports performance.