Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sleep Impacts Sport Performance

Participating in sport requires us to be at our best both physically and mentally. For optimal physical performance our brain and central nervous system (CNS) play a key role in biomechanics, muscle activation, reaction and reflex movement, and other physiological functions. In order to work at its best, the brain and CNS need to be well rested. Research has proven that sleep is a clear predictor of performance in skill based sport (Underwood (2010), order article from SIRC.

Our bodies need sleep to help recover from physical and mental stress accumulated during the day. Missing too much sleep has been shown to reduce cardiovascular function by 11% and impact brain function nearly twice as quickly. If an athlete is forgetting information given in a practice or isn’t making effective decisions during sport, chances are they aren’t getting enough sleep. Sleep also affects glucose metabolism which is the main energy source for athletes.

Tips that can help athletes get enough rest without impacting training:
  • Include sleep in your training log
  • Perform active recovery
  • Include massage in your training
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Balance nutrition with training load
  • Eat before exercise
  • Eat for recovery

For more information on sleep and its physiological and psychological impacts please contact SIRC.

Reference: Underwood, John (2010). Sleep: Now Clearly a Predictor of Performance. Coaches PLAN du Coach, 17 (1), 31-34.

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