Sleep More to Increase Speed and Performance
We have spoken about the importance of sleep on both health and performance many times but it still seems as though sleep is an overlooked component. Lack of sleep can increase body fat levels, lower your testosterone, DHEA, and growth hormone levels, can increase insulin and cortisol levels, lead to poor memory, and increase inflammation to name a few things.
In this study, conducted at Stanford University, they looked at the effects of extending sleep over a period of 5-7 weeks and the impact it had on specific measures of athletic performance, reaction time, mood, and daytime sleepiness.
It was only a small scale study of 11 people but the thing I liked about it was that the test subjects were 11 healthy students on the Standford University’s men’s varsity basketball team.
The subjects got as much nocturnal sleep as possible with a minimum goal of 10 hours in bed each night. This worked out to be about 2 hours of extra sleep per night.
The results were quite impressive. The subjects demonstrated a faster sprint time after the sleep extension period, improving from 16.2 seconds down to 15.5 seconds (baseline to half-court and back to baseline, then to full-court and back to baseline). Shooting accuracy also improved by 9% for free throws and 9.2% for 3 pointers. Increased vigor and decreased fatigue was also noted and subjects reported improved overall ratings of physical and mental well-being during training and games.
While 8 hours may be the recommended amount of time to sleep, this study shows that you may need even more than that. This is of course individual and also has to do with the quality of the sleep but something to consider.
If you want to perform at your best then respecting your sleep is a must. Set a routine and stick to it. It is a simple way to get an edge over the competition. Many people say they can’t get that much sleep but in reality it is because they are either watching T.V or sitting up on social media all night. You have to decide what you want. Do you want to spend all your time on Facebook or be a world champion?