January 13, 2023

When it comes to performance and athletic development the thing that might make the largest difference is also the one thing we are probably depriving ourselves of. Most athletes between the ages of 14 and 55 usually get from 5-7 hours of sleep on a given night. Sadly, these numbers fall into the range of sleep deprivation and getting more sleep at night might be the key to significant improvements in athletic performance.


The research on sleep suggests there are significant benefits in regularly getting enough. Athletes who were able to get the sleep they needed were more alert, had better coordination and saw marked improvements in strength and endurance over sleep deprived athletes. This gap between athletes with enough sleep and those without only grows larger the longer the deprived athlete goes without getting enough sleep.


What is enough sleep? That depends on the individual and on your age. Athletes between the ages of 12-18 should be getting a minimum of 9 hours a night, with some individuals needing additional hours. If you are an athlete over the age of 18 the ideal amount of sleep seems to be between 8 and 10 hours. These recommendations are slightly higher than those recommended for non-athletes and with good reason. The hours of training and study athletes put in over a given week are also greater than that of non-athletes and their bodies will need added rest to recover.

Coaches who have been training athletes during the COVID-19 lock down have seen substantial improvement from athletes who had previously plateaued even though their training had been reduced. Many of these athletes had reported a doubling or tripling in hours of sleep and they are most likely seeing the benefits of finally getting the rest they needed to recover from their training. If you think you could also benefit from getting more sleep try getting the recommended hours of rest each night for two weeks and see if you notice any improvements.