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How Sleep Affects an Athlete’s Performance

by Waverly Wilde

Whether you’re a high school athlete, a pro-athlete, or a rec center legend, getting a good snooze before and after you lace ’em up will keep you on top of your game. The benefits of good sleep have a direction when it comes to athletes. Post-exercise recovery time with plenty of good sleep accelerates the building of muscle, strength, and endurance. Without proper rest, athletes lose a spring in their step—suffering from poor reaction time, longer recovery time, and worsened performance.

The body restores itself during sleep, so if you have a nagging injury or expected aches and pains from hours of line drills, sleep is necessary for recovery from intense training and competition. If you’re well-rested each night, you won’t have to strain to stay awake or focused during your game. You will be much more alert and thus, your body and mind can focus solely on the task at hand: getting a win!

What Can You Do?

Improving your athletic performance can be as simple as hitting the sack an hour or two earlier. Just as athletes need more calories to fuel their bodies for their sport, they also need plenty of shut-eye. When you’re putting more strain on your muscles and tissues, the more sleep you need to repair your body. The amount of sleep you need varies on how much physical activity you channel in your sport—it’s pretty obvious that a professional basketball player would need more sleep than a professional bowler, but for any athlete, up to 10 hours per night will certainly help boost your performance.

Speaking of basketball players, this couldn’t be more applicable for all the college athletes gearing up for March Madness. Between practice, travel, and the occasional kegger, catching up on sleep is vital. Basketball players who score an extra two or three hours of sleep per night can boost their speed by five percent and increase their shooting accuracy for both free throws and three-point field goals by nine percent. You’ll be faster, increase your energy and physicality. That means when you’re battling for rebounds or loose balls, you’ll have the upper hand.

The Right Mentality

The physical aspect is only half the battle when it comes to athletes—the other side of the coin is all about your mental focus. Training and competition can call for just as much, if not more, mental strength than physical strength. Getting the proper amount of sleep keeps your mind sharp, boosts your alertness and mood, which are both necessary to bring your A-game each night.

The grind of the long season, the double-overtime games, and mental exhaustion from collegiate or professional competition are enough to wear out any athlete. Sleep deprivation is a factor for athletes of all levels, and if you hope to be the best, you’ve got to get your sleep.

Muscle Memory

Sports are all about muscle memory—knowing just how much arc to put on your free throws, feeling how much to bend your knees for a jump shot, controlling your dribble through a storm of defenders. Quality sleep helps boost your coordination so you can better consolidate memories that are linked to motor skills and athletic prowess. Sleep is vital for cementing anything linked to physical activity or body movements. So, whether you want to perfect your floater in the paint or hone in on your shooting percentage, getting your ZZZs is the first step in racking up those Ws.

No matter what your sport of choice is, you know that sleep is our game. There’s no better teammate than Mattress Land, and if you want to perform your best on the court, it all starts with the right mattress and quality sleep. Visit us today to find your perfect fit and maybe get a few pointers on that jump shot.