High-Performance Sleep

It's not uncommon to not get enough sleep. Whether it's because of some condition or by choice, the importance of sleep cannot be underestimated. Consider these recent measures of athletic performance recorded during a study of Stanford University swimmers and published in the journal Sleep.

After assessing factors during the student's normal sleep patterns, participants were told to get 10 hours of sleep per day for 6 weeks. You'd expect mood and alertness to improve, and they did. What's surprising is how dramatically performance measures improved. The swimmers' 15-meter sprint times were 0.51 seconds better. Reaction time was cut 0.15 seconds off the starting blocks, and turn times improved 0.10 seconds. These are very significant when you consider that Olympic-class events are often decided by fractions of a second.

The Bigger Picture: Researchers reported similar results in a previous study on basketball players. Their sprint times and free throw shooting percentages improved with hours of sleep gained. So it's reasonable to assume that any athlete can perform better when they get enough sleep. We're not saying that 10 hours is right for you. Just ask yourself if you feel tired throughout the day, and if you think you're getting enough nightly Z-time.
Leave a Comment