Sleep has been called the “magic pill” for improved athletic performance.
Performance around the clock
More elite athletes are starting to focus on sleep as a path to succeed on the field. The Oakland Raiders just hired a new coach who has pledged to implement a new “24-hour Performance System” which will make sleep another important part of the player’s workout. The Raiders’ new Strength and Conditioning coach, Joe Gomes, is hoping a better “healing environment” will help injured players come back faster, and healthy players perform better on the field. He told the San Francisco Chronicle “The two biggest areas you can typically impact would be your recovery component and then your nutrition component. And if you just upgrade those areas, what you’ll find is that no matter what training they’re doing, you have already improved the level at which they can adapt to that.” Oakland has struggled the last few seasons, but if Gomes is right then perhaps Raiders fans can sleep a little better too.
Teen athletes need more sleep to stay healthy
Not just adult athletes need to rack up Zs along with TDs. A recent study found teenagers who got a good night sleep (8+ hours) were 68% less likely to sustain an injury while playing sports. The American Academy of Pediatrics said that the hours of sleep a night was a more important indicator of whether the teen might get injured than the hours spent on the playing field or hours spent weight training. They also found the older a teen athlete gets, the more sleep they need.
The research is piling up. Whether you are a star running back or aspire to be one in your athletic future, sleep does more than help you heal. Sleep helps you succeed.