Importance of sleep for sport

The human body has been physically and mentally conditioned to receive good nutrition and sufficient rest in order for it to achieve peak performance. This is in fact more important for athletes irrespective of their sport of choice. This notwithstanding, sleep remains one of the most overlooked aspects considering that it is through sleep that our bodies are able to achieve maximum rest. Below are a couple of reasons why sleep is important for sport.

#1 Sleep helps to improve your reflexes

One of the qualities that makes certain athletes stand out from the rest is their quick reflexes. This applies to any sport. Generally, during game timean athlete always has just a fraction of a second to react. Lack of sufficient sleep is known to slow down reaction time significantly and this means slower reflexes. Medical experts say that pulling an all-nighter is likely to reduce reaction time by more than 300 per cent. Take heed, get your sleep.

#2 Sleep helps to reduce proneness to injuries

A study carried out by the University of California revealed that the rate of injures among athletes is higher when they go for games having slept for less than 6 hours. This is attributed to fatigue which generally affects reaction time when taking part in a sport. A tired athlete often has slowerreflexes hence they are more prone to potential hitswhen tackled on the field by their opponents.

#3 Sleep helps to improve your overall wellbeing

As we have established, your body requires rest in order for it to refresh and recuperate therefore lack of sleep leads to fatigue which in turn affects the body’s immune system. This makes players taking part in whatever sport more susceptible to illness. Failure to get sufficient sleepdeprives the body of sufficient time to regenerate and repair cells and tissue damaged during the vigorous workouts and during games time.

#4 Sleep ensures you have a longer playing career

Think of it this way, whatever sport you are taking part in, the more sleep you get, the more rest your body gets which means the better your reflexes, the lesser your injuries and this then means a long, healthy and successful playing career. As athletes or potential athletes active in a sport this doesn’t seem like rocket science, does it?

#5 Sleep ensures you have betteraccuracy and speed

As we have established, sleep helps to reduce fatigue and ensures that your body rests and regenerates thus restoring all crucial physiological, biochemical and cognitive functionalities. Astudy conducted at Stanford University on the university’s men’s basketball team found out that players who received sufficient sleep registered an improvement in speed during sprints and a significant improvement in shooting accuracy from the free throw line. A similar improvement was noted in tennis players, swimmers as well as weightlifters.

#6 Sleep ensures you have fewer mental errors

Sport is as much a mental activity as it is a physical one. As we have established, insufficient sleep will lead to impaired judgement and this results into mental errors in the pitch as a result of lack of focus and poor memory. Proper sleep is a remedy for this.

Infographic by: visual.ly

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