Although good nutrition and physical conditioning are imperative to reaching peak athletic performance, the role that sleep plays is just as important. The quality of sleep can make the difference between losing and winning when it comes time to perform. Here are the ways in which sleep impacts athletic performance:
Lower Risk of Injury
According to the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, the number of hours of sleep that an athlete gets, as well as the quality of sleep, plays an important role in reducing injury. Fatigue results in reduced reaction times, which can lead to mishaps on the field. Sleep helps the body repair itself by giving it a chance to regenerate cells damaged from tough workouts.
Improved Reaction Times
A lack of sleep can significantly reduce athletes' reaction times, thereby increasing instances of missed or poorly executed plays. Going just one night without sleep can slow reflexes by as much as 300 percent, according to research.
Improvement in Overall Health
Inadequate sleep can suppress the immune system, leading to a higher risk of catching colds and other illnesses. Sleep helps the body heal from both illness and injury.
How Can Athletes Improve Sleep?
Approximately one-third of every day is spent in bed. A poor-quality mattress can cause you to toss and turn all night long. When you lie down for an extended period of time, the weight of your body reduces blood flow, which deprives your skin of nutrients and oxygen. This can cause the pain and nerve cells in your skin to send a message to your brain to roll over. This helps restore blood flow, but it also interrupts sleep.
To improve sleep, an athlete should purchase a high-quality mattress designed specifically for athletes. The proper mattress can relieve pressure points and keep your body in optimal alignment throughout the night. Proper alignment helps you get a better night's rest and reduces back and neck pain, reports Harvard Healthbeat.
Sleep is one of the most important factors in athletic performance, ensuring that you play at your best and allowing your muscles to recover afterward. Choose a performance mattress that is specially designed for athletes to help you attain your best performance.