A good night's sleep!
07-31-2013 (Dayton, OH) -
Athletes are always trying to find new ways to have an extra edge over others in the game. They are always looking for that new protein shake or the right sports drink. Instead of spending all this money and developing bad habits, there is an easier, more effective answer--get enough sleep.
Adding an extra hour of sleep every night can make a huge difference. Especially to those who are physically active. According to the National Sleep Foundation, on average adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. For a young athlete, even more sleep is necessary.
“Most people underestimate the importance of sleeping,” says Zach Woessner, PsyD, pediatric sleep specialist at Dayton Children’s Hospital. “When someone, especially an athlete doesn’t get enough sleep their energy is decreased. This is because sleep deprivation decreases the body’s ability to fully recover and perform at its maximum ability.”
Another side effect of not enough sleep is worsened reflexes and decision making. Studies have shown that athletes who didn’t get enough sleep are prone to making worse judgments and are less alert.
According to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, student-athletes who sleep eight or more hours per night are 68 percent less likely to be injured while playing sports than those who sleep less. Getting enough sleep increases a lot of things such as focus, stamina and strength.
“Sleep has a big impact on what is going on inside your child’s body,” says Lora Scott, MD, medical director at Dayton Children’s Urgent Care. “Sleep is time for the body to finish all the phases that are needed to repair muscles. If one doesn’t get enough sleep then they don’t get enough time to recover which can increase the opportunity for injury.”
“Adequate sleep also boosts the immune system.” Dr. Scott adds. “Athletes who do not get enough sleep miss more days due to illness than their peers who are fully-rested."
Help your athlete get a better night’s sleep with these tips from Dayton Children’s Hospital:
- Turn off TVs, computers and other devices that may have light.
- Seal mattresses, box springs and pillows to prevent mold and other allergy triggers.
- Set the bedroom temperature to 68-72 degrees, this is the best sleep temperature for most people.
- Avoid heavy foods and big meals late in the day, finish any snack at least an hour before bed.
- Cut the caffeine; it interferes with the deeper stages of sleep.
According to the experts at Dayton Children’s, school-age children and preteens need 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night. Teenagers need 8 ½ to 9 ½ hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep can cause short attention span and irritability. Sleep deprivation adds up over time and this leads to inconsistent performance.
“Finally, teenagers have a general tendency to shift their sleep schedule - going to bed later and sleeping in later if allowed, which causes problems,” says Dr. Woessner. “It is very important for teens to keep a good sleep schedule, especially on weekends, and maybe most importantly, keep a consistent wake time for weekdays and weekends. Teens, like adults, can get themselves into trouble if they start sleeping in to late on weekends.” Just as an athlete must be consistent about training – figuring sleep into that routine is essential for a healthy season.
All athletes should try the new athletic enhancement - called sleep. Sleep is something to be smart about because it can really have an affect your athlete’s lifestyle and ability on and off the field. Getting a healthy dosage of sleep every night is a sure way to step up your game.
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