sleep and athletic performance

I was speaking with Derek Francis from FOX 17 about sleep and athletic performance. Sleep is the best performance enhancer out there!

Adults should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep while teens should be getting 8-10 hours. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep is the minimum – this is like getting a C or D in school. Without enough sleep, we weaken mentally and physically.

When We Sleep:

  • Our brain stores into memory what we learned that day
    • Those all-nighters studying before a test is NOT a good idea!
  • Our brain removes toxic waste, including harmful proteins linked to brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s
  • We grow (our pituitary gland releases growth hormones, helping us to repair and develop)
    • This is important for kids and athletes in particular

“But I’m Fine On 6 Hours, I Don’t Need As Much Sleep As Others”

  • Your brain is adaptive and can cope with sleep debt, but that doesn’t mean it is good for you
  • Sleep deprivation is a method of torture!
  • Consequences of sleep deprivation: premature skin aging, irritability, memory lapses, decreased immune and stress responses, cognitive decline, decreased bone density, increased risk of stroke, obesity, heart disease and cancer, and brain damage

The Best Sleep Is:

  • Consistent (not varying by an hour more or less each night)
  • Planned (make it a priority and choose activities to promote sleep)

What About Naps?

  • They’re not a replacement for night sleep
  • Recommended in addition, in the afternoon, for 10-30 minutes. Never nap more than 90 minutes to avoid sleep disruption at night
  • Naps can be helpful the day before a night of sleep deprivation