The sports industry has come a long way in just a few short years. Nowadays athletes’ diets, training, and yes, even their sleep are monitored by a group of professionals to make sure that they’re living their best lives. It makes sense that when you invest millions of dollars in an athlete, you want to make sure that they have the best chance to perform on the field, court, or diamond. From the athletes perspective, any competitive advantage means more success on the field, and in turn leads to bigger contracts for them in the future.
So does sleep affect athletic performance? Absolutely. Making sure that an athlete has enough sleep can make their reaction times quicker, improve their recovery, and even make them faster on the court. It’s no wonder that most professional sports teams are making sure that their athletes sleep well and often. Dreams of a championship start in bed.
The Golden State Warriors Have a Sleep Program Created by a Stanford Scientist
The Golden State Warriors have an unprecedented string of successes that have come from two things — smarter practices and better sleep. Learning how sleep affects athletic performance was so integrated into their training, that they hired Stanford sleep specialist, Cheryl Mah to analyze and train their players into the best ways to get rested. The players have taken it to heart.
“I know how important recovery is,” All-Star guard Klay Thompson said. “We play such a long season. And I love to sleep, so it was good hearing that if you want to be at optimal peak performance you’ve got to get your eight hours, or at least try to. You can’t be hanging out long hours at night.”
It seems these rewards are being reaped on the court, with four of Golden State’s players reaching the all-star game last season, plus winning three championships in the last four years. The link for how sleep affects athletic performance has never seemed stronger.
Professional Soccer Teams Use Sleep Coaches to Help Teach Sleep Hygiene
Not to be outdone, soccer players are also learning the benefits of how sleep affects sports performance. Recently, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Real Madrid have all hired sleep coaches to help teach their players the benefits of having good sleep hygiene. It’s an area that many personal trainers and coaches have seen big gaps between preaching and practice.
“Often footballers are young men who leave home before they know how to manage their routines or the physical and mental demands of their sport – from fatigue and pressure to hotels, travel, and flights,” said Nick Littlehales, a sleep coach in the Premier League Football League. “These things all add up. Sleep can affect performance, energy, mental focus and concentration. And quality sleep can bring more consistent performances, faster recovery times, higher motivation levels and better decision-making.”
The Boston Red Sox Have a Sleep Room in Fenway Park
Fenway Park might best be known for the green monster, the left field wall that so many home runs have flown over, but it’s another area that’s now getting attention for the recent Red Sox success. Larry Lucchino, Red Sox president and CEO, recently revealed that there’s a sleep room inside Fenway Park — and that the players love having it. It was built after the link for how sleep affects sports performance was shown to help in day-to-day recover, a must for baseball players who have a grueling 162 game schedule.
“It is nice,” said Red Sox catcher, David Ross. “With the travel schedule you have here and this market and all the Sunday night games, getaway day-night games, everybody wants to put us on TV and have a big draw. You know we do have sometimes every once in a while where it’s nice to go in there and get a little hour or so rest — a little nap.”
Treat Your Body the Way the Pros do and Sleep Better
This all just goes to show that if you’re asking does sleep affect sports performance, then the answer is definitely yes. From big league clubs down to your youth soccer teams, a good night’s sleep is a must if you’re an athlete looking to perform at a high level. Give yourself every advantage on the court by getting a good night’s sleep in the bedroom. You’ll see the difference. Now go get that championship sleep.
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