Skip to main content

5 Ways Sleep Improves Athleticism

by AthleticoLeave a Comment

While increased amount of rest is common knowledge at higher levels of sport, it is commonly overlooked at lower levels. When it comes to improving athleticism in younger athletes, so much of the focus is put on strength training methods, diet, and supplementation, while little focus is put on sleep. There is a growing body of evidence that indicates that forgoing sleep might be a huge misstep.

Sleep Improves Speed

A recent Stanford study compared sprint performances in athletes when they followed their normal sleep routine and again after an extended sleep program. They found that average sprint times improved by about 4.5%. The same study found that these athletes had faster reaction times when well rested. I can’t think of a single sport that doesn’t benefit from faster movement and reaction times.

Sleep Improves Athletic Skills

The same Stanford study that showed improved speed with better sleep, also showed improved athletic skill with increased sleep. Basketball players that improved their sleep patterns shot, on average, 9% better with both free throws and 3 pointers.

Sleep Improves Mood

Ok. The fact that better sleep improves mood shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody, but there is objective data showing that people feel happier when they are well rested. This can carry over onto the athletic field with improved morale. Professional teams aren’t afraid to let go of all-star talent if their locker room presence is toxic because they know what kind of effect that can have on a team’s success. Avoiding that negative environment can make the difference in a team’s season.

Sleep Improves Strength

Your body’s natural chemicals that improve strength, like human growth hormone and testosterone, are both affected by sleep. This can affect strength levels over the long run. In the short term, some case studies seem to indicate that improved sleep leads to better strength performance. This doesn’t come as any surprise given sleep’s effect on speed and athleticism mentioned earlier.

Sleep Decreases Injury Rates

This study from the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics shows how adolescent athletes that got less than 8 hours of sleep each night were 1.7 times more likely to have an injury than those that got more sleep. Seeing how sleep improves both your physical and mental performance, it’s easy to see how a lack of sleep can have the opposite effects.

It may be time to look at the priorities of our young athletes and figure out how to prioritize sleep in the mix of school, school sports, club sports, homework, and a budding social life. It may be the missing factor that is holding you or your child back from your athletic goals. Figuring out a way to get in at least 8 hours of sleep a day and possibly a nap or two will benefit you in multiple ways.

If you would like to learn more from an Athletico physical therapist, schedule a free assessment with an Athletico location near you. Free assessments are available in-person and online through our virtual Telehealth platform.

Request a Free Assessment

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *