Do you want to boost your athletic performance? Reduce your risk for injury? Improve your reaction time, accuracy and speed? The secret is easier than you think, and doesn’t cost a single cent. Yet, most young athletes often neglect this essential component of their training: SLEEP! Sleep is a vital component of the recovery process following intense training and competition. It provides both psychological and physiologically benefits. However, sleep deprivation is very common in young athletes due to extensive training schedules, anxiety, lack of awareness of the importance of sleep and poor sleep hygiene. Why is catching enough z’s so important and what can you do to ensure a better quality sleep?
Most athletes are well aware of the benefits of proper nutrition, skill training and conditioning to improve athletic performance. So what exactly happens while you’re sleeping that is so important? The body regenerates and repairs cells, and allows restoration of several systems such as the immune, nervous and endocrine system. It also releases hormones that help with recovery. Certain hormones such as growth hormone and androgens are only released during the deep sleep cycle and they are vital for muscle repair, muscle building and bone growth. Therefore, the quality of sleep you’re getting is just as important as the quantity.