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Why You Need That Nap – How Sleep Helps Athletes

Sleep Helps Athletes
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The following is a post by Kelly Springer, a registered dietitian/nutritionist and the founder of Kelly’s Choice LLC.

People joke about needing to get their beauty sleep, but we truly do need to get our sleep. Not only does a great night’s sleep make you feel good, it boosts your mood and decreases those bags under neither your eyes. Sleep improves your heart, weight, and mind.

Do you want to know what else sleep does for you?

Sleep helps athletes perform at their best.

Did you ever hear about sleeping with a textbook under your pillow and you will magically wake up filled with knowledge?

Well, it doesn’t necessarily work like that, but your memory improves while you are sleeping.

While you sleep, your mind doesn’t stop. Your brain takes the memories it remembers and reorganizes and reconstructs them. You can strengthen your memory ability by going through a process of practicing your skills while you are sleeping. This process is known as consolidation.

Along with increasing your creativity, sleep increases your physical performance. It is crucial for athletes to achieve an adequate night’s sleep before their game days. Increasing your sleep can improve athletes’ sprint time and stamina, as well as decreasing their level of fatigue.

How much sleep is right for athletes?

Don’t go and sleep your days away though. Getting too much or too little sleep has been shown to shorten your lifespan. It it’s recommended to achieve 7-8 hours of sleep every night to have your body function at its peak ability.

Sleep has a direct correlation with your quality of life. Also, sleep can help your body fight off inflammation.

If you get less than 6 hours of sleep, you typically have high blood pressure and more inflammation throughout your body. You have more inflammation because your body has more protein blood levels.

What happens if athletes don’t get enough sleep?

It seems like the younger or older you are, the more you have a desire to sleep. It’s not a myth: children from the ages 10-16 who experience snoring or sleep apnea have increased issues with paying attention in school.

Also, college students experience worse GPAs when they don’t receive adequate amounts of sleep. Most of the time, students have to sacrifice their precious hours of sleep to finish their projects or study for finals weeks. In doing this, the students are actually harming themselves because they aren’t going to learn anything more after their bodies have reached a certain point. Having sleep sharpens your attention.

Students not receiving enough sleep are more likely to develop ADHD because children don’t get sleepy when they are overly tired, they become hyperactive.

So next time someone is giving you a hard time about getting your beauty sleep, just remember all the amazing benefits it has for your health.


Want to hear more tips about how to stay at the top of your game? Check out our recruiting tips and strategies for success within the NCSA Athletic Recruiting platform. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

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About the author
Andy McKernan

Andy McKernan is the content strategist at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. A content marketer with a background in creative writing, Andy brings several years of experience to NCSA.