Monday, December 20, 2010

Importance of Sleep to the Athlete

While attending the Ontario Sport 4 Life “Shaking The Foundations” conference in November 2010 in Markham, Ontario, it was interesting that with all the experts speaking about physiology, psychology, paradigm shifts, nutrition, coaching, hormonal cycles, long term athlete development (LTAD), that the number one cog in the athlete sustenance wheel was the importance of sleep, according to LTAD expert Istvan Balyi.

Sleep. It’s something we do at the end of each day. Still, it’s the one thing that is always sacrificed no matter what level of athlete you are. How is it that something so important in daily human physical and mental repair is so underestimated? For the most part we all spend most of our days in a very large sleep debt, which affects such areas as cognitive function, mood, fitness, general health and reaction times.

Optimal environment elements affecting how well we sleep include the light, temperature and noise in our bedrooms, along with dedicating the time to getting enough quality sleep. So embrace the importance of crawling into the flannelette pasture so that your body can do its maintenance work.

For more information on sleep, which won’t put you to sleep, please review these articles or contact SIRC.

Health Benefits of Sleep

Importance of Sleep for the Young Athlete

Importance of Sleep to the Endurance Athlete

Davenne, D. (2009). Sleep of athletes - problems and possible solutions. Biological Rhythm Research, 40(1), 45-52.

Noland, H., Price, J., Dake, J., & Telljohann, S. (2009). Adolescents’ Sleep Behaviors and Perceptions of Sleep. Journal of School Health, 79(5), 224-230.

Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter (2007) A Wake-Up Call on Sleep and Health. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, 15260143, 24(12).

Williams, A. (2010). Recovery Nutrition - Sleep, Eat, Train, Recover, Repeat. Coaches Plan/Plan du Coach, 17(2), 20-23.

Waterhouse, J.; Atkinson, G.; Edwards, B.; Reilly, T.,(2007) The role of a short post-lunch nap in improving cognitive, motor, and sprint performance in participants with partial sleep deprivation. Journal of Sports Sciences, 25(14), 1557-1656.

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