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7 Reasons Why You Must Optimise Your Sleep For Athletic Performance

James Clarke // March 2022 // 7 Min Read

How much sleep do you get on an average night? If the answer is "not enough," then you should consider spending more time sleeping. Not only does it make us feel better, but it has a huge impact on your athletic performance. In this blog post, we will discuss 7 reasons why sleep optimisation for athletic performance is important and how to improve your sleep quality to achieve better and faster results!

Let's jump right into it!

Reason #1: Poor sleep quality can lead to decreased athletic performance.

If you're not getting enough or high-quality sleep, your body is going to suffer. One of the most noticeable ways this will happen is in terms of athletic performance. In a study published by the Journal of Sports Sciences, researchers found that basketball players who slept for less than eight hours per night had worse shooting accuracy, sprint times, and agility levels than those who slept for more than eight hours. And it's not just basketball players who are impacted by poor sleep quality. A study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that cyclists who slept for less than eight hours per night had worse performance times and were more fatigued during races than those who got adequate sleep. So if you want to perform your best athletically, make sure you're getting enough high-quality sleep!

Reason #2: Increased fatigue and a higher risk of injuries.

In a study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, researchers looked at how fatigue levels impacted injury rates in athletes. They found that more fatigued athletes were way more likely to suffer injuries than those who weren't as tired. Why is this? When we're tired, our reaction times are slower, our movement patterns are less coordinated, and our balance is impaired, which increases our chances of getting injured during athletic activity. So if you want to stay healthy and reduce your risk of injuries, make sure you don't cut out on your sleep hours!

Reason #3: Decreased reaction time and coordination skills.

Not getting enough high-quality sleep will also affect how well your mind functions throughout the day, which has an impact on aspects like reaction times and hand-eye coordination during sports play. In a study published by the journal Sleep, researchers looked at how reaction times were impacted in sleep-deprived individuals. They found that reaction times for those who slept for four hours or less per night were twice as slow as those who got eight hours of sleep.These factors are key to improving athletic performance, and even more when it comes to competing at a high level! So if you want to be able to react quickly and have better hand-eye coordination skills, make sure you're getting enough sleep!

Reason #4: It can affect the growth hormone levels in our bodies, which is a critical component of muscle building and recovery.

Not getting enough sleep can also have a negative impact on muscle growth and muscle recovery, which is an important part of any athletic training program. In a study published by the journal Endocrine, researchers found that there was a drop in growth hormone levels after just one week of sleep restriction, which is critical for muscle building and recovery.

Reason #5: Not sleeping enough can lead to a decrease in testosterone.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that when athletes didn't get enough sleep, they experienced lower testosterone levels. Both growth hormone and testosterone play a critical role in muscle building and recovery and a significant decrease in these could negatively impact your progress as an athlete. So if you want to make sure you're getting the most out of your muscle growth and recovery, then you should definitely prioritise getting the right amount of sleep every single day.

Reason #6: Decreased sleep can also lead to increased levels of cortisol.

With too little sleep, the body is also more likely to produce the stress-response hormone cortisol. After sleep deprivation, subjects in several studies had higher levels of cortisol later in the day, a time when it should be tapering off to prepare the body for rest. When cortisol levels are high, athletes tend to fatigue more quickly and have less energy to keep pushing through their workouts, which can lead to decreased performance and an increased risk of injuries. Plus, it can also have a negative impact on our cognitive function, which can lead to poor decision-making during key moments of competition. So if you want to keep your mental game sharp while competing and achieve better & faster results, then make sure to get plenty of rest!

Reason #7: Poor sleep quality can lead to increased inflammation.

In addition to all of the other negative effects that poor sleep can have on our athletic performance, it can also lead to inflammation. When you're not getting good-quality sleep, your body's inflammatory response goes into overdrive. This is because during deep sleep, the body repairs and regenerates cells, tissues and muscles. If you're not getting enough sleep, your body can't do this as effectively, which can lead to inflammation throughout the body. This can cause pain and discomfort, making it difficult for athletes to push themselves through their workouts. So if you're feeling sore and achy after working out, or having a hard time recovering from your workouts, then it might be a sign that you're not getting enough sleep!

Summary

If you’ve been struggling with sleep and want to see better results in your athletic performance, you must take the time to optimise your sleep. There are many ways to do this, but you can start improving your sleep quality by changing the way you think about sleep and setting up an optimised sleeping environment that helps you maintain a consistent schedule every week. At the end of the day, it's all about the small improvements that we make every day and end up compounding over time to give us amazing results in the long run. This is how the best athletes achieve top-level performance and you can do the same simply by making small 1% improvements every single day. Thanks for reading! The fact you've read until this point shows us you're truly committed to learning and improving as an athlete, so be proud of it! We hope you found this article helpful and informative! If so, please share it on your social media page or with a friend who wants to further improve their athletic performance! Until next time, 

Train Harder & Recover Faster!