Once more, sleep gets its due. A new study out of Stanford University School of Medicine found that sleeping longer can help improve workout performance.
What’s more, according to work appearing in the July 2011 issue of the journal SLEEP, getting enough restful sleep the night before a big game, an event or an attempt to beat your best time, is as important as anything else you do. But getting the proper rest has to be part of your training long before game day, at least 10 hours a night in the weeks before a performance has been shown to help an athlete make some noise.
Researchers are just coming to understand the role sleep plays in athletic performance, but extending the sleep period and performance have not been well studied. Fewer still have investigated the effect sleep might have on athletes.
To get peak performance athletes put lots of focus on nutrition and physical training, but give little or no thought to getting enough of the restorative rest the body needs. Clearly this is an area of training that should be getting more attention… from athletes, trainers and coaches.
The most recent work on sleep and performance used basketball players at the elite college level, and found that upping the sleep time from their 6 to 9 hour average to ten hours each night brought faster sprint times and increased free throws for weeks afterward.
Beyond their performance on the court, the athletes also reported having more energy and feeling better, feeling less fatigue during practices and on the court during the game.
In the past, Cheri Mah of the Stanford Sleep Disorders clinic and Research Laboratory and colleagues have studied swimmers, football and tennis players, with similar results.
The football players actually took 10 seconds off their 40-yard dash. It appears all types of athletes can benefit from extra shut eye, getting a competitive edge that lets them become top performers… set records… win games.
And what if you’re not a professional athlete?
Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease
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Want To Improve Your Exercise Results? Get Your Sleep… Continued…
Getting enough sleep is important for getting the best out of any kind of exercise you’re doing. What’s more, enough restorative sleep is known to help us get through a challenging day, help us cope with stress better. It helps students get good grades, improves our performance on the job and keeps us from being part of a tragic sleep deprived accident at work or on the road.
Getting the right amount of sleep might even help people lose weight.
You should know that you can’t sleep in at the weekend and think you’ve cured a sleep-deprived body, returning to the routine of long days and little sleep without worrying. Short-term fixes just don’t work. You need to make getting the right amount of sleep a priority – just as you do eating right, exercising and doing other things that are good for you.
The best way to be sure you are sleeping longer is to practice good sleep habits. Set a bedtime and stick to it, even on days off and when you’re on vacation. Make your sleeping space a quiet, restful place and be sure to unplug all your handhelds long before turning in for the night.