The Negative Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Athletic Performance & Recovery

By Amber Smith
Dec 26, 2021 1:00 PM


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Introduction: What is Sleep Deprivation?

Sleep deprivation is the inability to sleep at the right time, or to sleep long enough to avoid impaired mental and physical health.

Many people don't realize how important it is to get enough sleep. Lack of adequate rest is associated with many problems, including lack of energy, balance, concentration, etc.

Those who suffer from sleep deprivation can experience a decrease in their reaction times and alertness. Athletes who are not getting the appropriate amount of rest often feel fatigued before they even begin their workout routine.

Lack of sleep can also lead to hormonal imbalances that increase chances for obesity and diabetes. For athletes, this type of chronic fatigue can affect performance on the field or court by decreasing reaction times and energy levels needed for game-time performance.

How to Understand the Negative Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Athletic Performance

Sleep deprivation has negative impacts on athletic performance. Sleep deprivation has been shown to reduce cognitive functioning, decision-making skills and focus. It also increases the risk of injury and illness.

Athletes should try to get enough sleep for better performance. They should also avoid heavy caffeine consumption before their game or event to help them stay at their best.

Sleep Hygiene for Athletes in College to High School

Lack of sleep has been shown to have a negative impact on athletes’ performance. When athletes don't get enough sleep, they can experience issues with their cardiovascular system, metabolism, and even moods. The consequences of these issues are not minor; they can lead to injury or even death in extreme cases.

College athletes are often in the hardest position because they are balancing school with sports. It is important for this population to pay particular attention to sleep hygiene and make sure that they are getting enough sleep for both their physical health and mental well-being.

How Much Sleep Do Teenage Athletes Need?

Teenagers should be getting eight to ten hours of sleep every night.

For teenage athletes in particular, research suggests it’s better to get at least nine or 10 hours. School-age children (ages 6-12 years) need at least 9-11 hours.

Why do athletes sleep so much?

Athletes get more sleep because their body needs to recover from all the exercise. But a new study shows that they're not more tired than the rest of us; they're just better at sleeping.

Sleep tips for athletes

●      Get on a regular schedule.

●      When you travel, give yourself time to get used to your new setting. Avoid sleep medication.

●      Reduce alcohol and caffeine use overall and avoid before bedtime.

      Invest in a great mattress and pillows.

●      Creating an appropriate sleep environment.  

●      Stay away from electronics in the hours before bedtime.

●      Have a wind-down routine, such as reading or taking a bath before bed.

●      Get out of bed if you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes of trying.

●      Avoid overtraining.

●      Avoid training and competitions too early or too late.

●      Keep naps brief if you take them at all. Naps should be no more than an hour and not taken after 3 p.m.

●  Reduce stressors. 

How do athletes sleep before a big game?

If you can't sleep the night before your big game

●       Rehearse your rest--practicing sleeping in difficult situations in the weeks prior to race day.

●      Treat the night before the race like any other night. Don’t stay up late or sleep in more than usual for you.

●      Don’t reach for drugs.

●      Use your awake time to prepare for the race. 

Effects of sleep on endurance athletes research

Several studies that have assessed athletes’ sleep quality prior to competitions repeatedly show that improved sleep was associated with improved performance and outcomes in both individual and team competitions.

 In endurance sports specifically, sleep has been shown to have an outsized impact on performance, with poor-quality sleep leading to worse performance both because of earlier onset of perceived fatigue and exertion as well as lower levels of pre-exercise muscle glycogen levels.

What is the ideal temperature and humidity for sleeping?

The EPA recommends keeping relative humidity between 30% and 60%. Many sleep experts will suggest keeping it as close to 50% if possible. Sleep experts also suggest 65°F as an ideal temperature, with some suggesting temperatures as low as 60°F for athletes.

Athletes who sleep 9 hours a night or more

  1. Kevin Durant- 8 hours

  2. Larry Fitzgerald- 9 hours, or more but on game nights 10 to 11 hours

  3. Usain Bolt-  8 to 10 hours

  4. Michelle Wie- 12 hours

  5. Russell Wilson- 7 hours

  6. Rafael Nadal- 8 to 9 hours

  7. Steve Nash- 10 hours

  8. LeBron James- 12 hours

  9. Kurt Busch- 8 ½ hours

  10. Andy Murray- 12 hours

  11. Roger Federer- 11 to12 hours

  12. Amar'e Stoudemire- 8 hours

  13. Earl Watson- 8 hours

  14. Venus Williams…?

Tennis pro star Venus Williams sleeps 8 to 10 hours per night. Venus Williams believes in sleep and is launching her own mattress collection with the founder of GhostBed by Nature’s Sleep Marc Werner. You can check out our GhostBed review for a very detailed evaluation of the GhostBed mattresses that they have to offer.  However, this new line will be tailored for performance sleep for athletes to recover off the field

The Venus Williams Collection by GhostBed, is set to launch with two mattresses (all-foam & hybrid), with additional retail models available in January 2022. 

Click here to find out about the mattress line to support all athletes.  

How much sleep do endurance athletes need

A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that cyclists who extended their sleep time by 90 minutes for three days improved cycling endurance performance by 3 percent in a 60-minute time trial.

 The researchers recommend sleeping more than 8 hours a night to optimize endurance performance.

Importance of Sleep for Athletes

Sleep is what helps your body to recover and feel refreshed.

When an athlete doesn't get enough sleep, their body can't repair the damage done during the day. That's because sleep gives the hormones that repair muscles time to go to work and repair themselves. The next day, they may appear more tired than usual and struggle with mental clarity.

If you know you need a lot of sleep but find yourself snoozing through your alarm clock every morning, it might be worth scheduling a doctor's appointment to see if there's an underlying medical condition preventing you from sleeping as much as you need.

Sleep recovery for athlete

For every two hours of time an athlete spends awake and stressed, it takes one hour of sleep to recover. This means that if an athlete is awake and under stress 16 hours a day, at least 8 hours of sleep are required for the central nervous system to recover from the overload. Sleep is training too.

Most people need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. If you're an athlete in training, you may need more.

Sleep Deprivation Recovery Advice

Sleep deprivation is a major issue today. Many people suffer from sleep deprivation, and it is common in the United States to get less than 7 hours of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems, but luckily there are ways to recover from it.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, when you don't get enough sleep, your body reacts in different ways. For example, when you're sleep deprived for just one night it can affect your brain activity and hormone levels. This can interfere with how much energy or concentration you have during the day. When someone doesn’t get enough sleep for an extended period (days), they may experience symptoms like weight gain or depression.

Sleep deprivation is often ignored in our society because people think they can “catch up” on sleep in the weekend. However, there are many side effects to not getting enough, or any, sleep. One of the main impacts is cognitive performance. It's difficult to stay focused and alert when you're tired because your brain isn't getting the right amount of oxygen when you're sleeping. If you're not sleeping well, it can be quite difficult to focus on tasks that require high levels of cognitive performance like reading or math.

Moreover, there are other effects on your physical body like reduced immunity and increased risk for diabetes and cancer. Even if you don't want to talk about it all day long, lack of sleep will affect your body in more ways than one!

Muscle Sleep Recovery Off the Field

Athletes need to prepare for their next game or match by resting. They have to make sure they are getting enough sleep so that their muscles can heal from the previous day’s activity.

As a professional athlete, you need a regular routine of sleep to recover from your games and matches. This is because when you sleep, your muscles will be able to heal from the injuries that have been caused by playing sports. You need at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night for your body to recover as it should after a day of playing sports.

Sleep Apnea Recovery for Athletes

Athletes and people who exercise hard and sleep less than the required amount usually have a high probability of suffering from sleep apnea.

The CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine is a device that helps the patient breathe evenly by forcing air in and out of their lungs at specified intervals.

An adjustable bed frame can be used to keep your airways open when you sleep because it reduces the strain on the neck and back while sleeping, which can lead to snoring or sleep apnea episodes.

Some pro athletes have done sleep apnea surgery yet others have decided to get a good adjustable base bed frame to align the body to avoid several sleep apnea symptoms. 

Methods to Help Improve Athletic Performance with Proper Sleep

A poor night's rest can impact performance in many ways, but there are some methods you can use to help improve your athletic performance.

Sleep is crucial for athletic performance because it helps the body recover from physical exertion.

The following are some tips for getting a better night’s rest so that you can maximize your athletic potential:

- Have a consistent sleep schedule

- Limit screen time before bed

- Keep your bedroom cool and dark and know why your body sleeps hot

Conclusion: The Importance of Proper Sleep for Athletes

There is a reason why we sleep for an average of 8 to 10 hours per day. Sleep plays a major role in our ability to regulate things like blood sugar and blood pressure, maintain our body temperature, and strengthen immune system.

Most people don't know that the brain requires as much as 90% of its energy just to keep us conscious. Yet, during sleep, the brain gets to take a break from its constant work and repair damaged cells and tissues that it sustains throughout the day.

Sleeping up to 10 hours every night is not only beneficial for your physical health but also for your mental health. The best way you can experience success in life is by taking care of yourself first; sleep is crucial for both your physical and mental wellbeing!

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