Athletes know that physical activity is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise increases longevity and reduces the risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Exercise can also reduce the risk for anxiety and depression, and it can help you sleep better.
In order to perform their best, athletes must prepare in every aspect of their lives. They train regularly, eat healthy meals and snacks, and make time for rest, recovery, and sleep. When one area is lacking, overall performance can suffer. Sleep is certainly no exception!
Why Is Sleep Important for Athletes?
For both athletes and non-athletes, sleep is essential for overall health and wellbeing. Everyone needs sleep in order to feel restored and function their best2 the next day. Other physical benefits include:
- Allowing your heart to rest3 and cells and tissue to repair. This can help your body recover after physical exertion. Also, as you progress through the stages of sleep, the changes in your heart rate and breathing throughout the night promote cardiovascular health4.
- Preventing illness or helping you recover from illness. During sleep, your body produces cytokines, which are hormones that help the immune system fight off infections.
All of these restorative effects are important for athletes’ recovery and performance.
Another aspect of sleep quality athletes needs to consider is the effects of jet lag. When traveling to different time zones for competitions, athletes can get out of their natural circadian phase. This means athletes may experience fatigue or the inability to perform their best. For example, West Coast American football teams play significantly better22 during evening home games than the visiting East Coast teams.
Follow Bashir Memarzadeh Ghafari on Instagram: https://instagram.com/bashir7474