Does Sleep Affect Athletic Performance?

Image of an athlete sleeping with running shoes on in bed

Whether you are preparing for a triathlon, have joined a sports team, are getting a jump on New Year’s resolution, or simply committing to a more active lifestyle, it is critical to include sleep and rest in your training.

Sleep affects athletic performance in a few different ways. 

Aids in muscle recovery and strengthening

When a person sleeps, the body fully relaxes into a restful state. This gives it the opportunity to heal and repair the damage and stress from the day. During sleep time, the body is also releasing hormones and chemicals throughout the body that strengthen and repair muscles, while supporting muscle growth too.

Reduces the risk of injury and illness

For starters, getting enough rest each night helps prevent injury. This is because the body needs time in between athletic training sessions in order to heal. Otherwise the muscles, ligaments and tendons may be tight, stiff, or not ready to be used in an intense way. When the body is in this state, it is more prone to injury. 

Enhances reflexes and response time

Consistent rest that achieves a deep sleep cycle has positive effects on mental response and sharpness, not just in muscle growth and athletic performance but in all areas of life. Proper rest helps athletes quicken reaction times, which is helpful when doing things like catching or responding to a fast moving ball, dodging opponents, or focusing on a finish line. 

Boosts training and results

Every athlete knows that training is integral to long-term performance, and a lack of sleep can result in either lowered motivation and a lack of progress during training sessions. Good rest and sleep often results in better performance in life in general.

For many people, consistent rest and deep sleep feels out of reach. People suffer from insomnia, are “too busy” to prioritize sleep, or have just gotten into some bad habits and can’t fall asleep easily, leading to more stress and frustration. 

The good news is that it is possible to change sleep habits and to get the rest you deserve and need. Here are some sleep tips to help you fall asleep faster and to stay asleep once you’re in dream land.

If you are training for a big event like a marathon or tournament, proper sleep will give you a leg up on your performance. Here are a few things to remember to help you make sleep a priority.

  • Invest in a mattress that supports your body and enhances your sleep. Consider the firmness, size, and material of your mattress. A new mattress can make all the difference in the world. 
  • Create consistent sleep habits: go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and prepare for bed with the same routine so that your body begins to prepare for rest by releasing hormones that make you drowsy and able to rest.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff! Reduce stress in whatever way you can. Stress is the number one factor that robs people of their sleep.
  • Engage in other recovery to avoid and heal from injury, including a healthy diet, lowered alcohol intake, regular massage, and other relaxation techniques.

If you have an an athletic event coming up, it’s good to double down on the above suggestions in advance. Give yourself a chance to build good habits. And if you need a new mattress, we have an amazing range of athletic-enhancing mattresses in Surrey.