November 11, 2019

Seems too good to be true, right? But it’s not. The best way to improve performance in the gym, on the field, or in life is free: 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Simple, yet only 60% of Americans are getting the minimum 7 hours. From hectic work schedules, to late night homework after practice or workouts, sleep seems to be the last priority of our nightly routine. 

The negative effects on the body from sleep deprivation range from the central nervous system to the endocrine system. The immune, respiratory, digestive, and cardiovascular systems decrease in performance with lack of sleep as well. However, your brain may be the biggest “loser” from staying up too late. For example, during deep sleep (stage 3) your brain “reviews” the memories and things you learned during the past day, organizing and cementing them to become long-term memories. Simply put, more sleep = better memories and increased learning!

These negative affects carry over to the field/court/track as well. One study done on 24-year-old healthy males showed a 10-15% decrease in testosterone production after just 8 nights of getting less than 5 hours of sleep. Another study done on 10 males showed that aerobic performance decreased 11.8% after just ONE night of no sleep, and a 4.1% decrease after one night of 4 hours of sleep. Add that to the list of other negative effects, and performance suffers tremendously. 

Sleep experts suggest a cold, pitch-dark room to get your best sleep in. Putting electronics away an hour before bedtime is another way to guarantee you falling asleep faster than ever. Electronics emit blue light, which in turn sends signals to our brain to stay awake and alert. As it gets darker earlier, try to start making sleep a priority. Whatever you have to do, get your sleep!