How More Sleep Will Make Your Child a Better Athlete
The results are backed by science. It’s free and has no negative side effects. So why are so many young athletes not getting enough of this wonder drug to help make them better athletes? That’s right, a little known training secret that many ELITE athletes have been taking advantage of for quite some time…lots and lots of SLEEP!
In an episode of “Hard knocks Houston Texans” a few seasons ago, former NFL Defensive Player of The year, JJ Watt lets a young player in on his secret to success, “Sleep ten plus hours every night!” He explains that he rarely goes out at night and is typically in bed at 7:30 pm. It’s hard to argue since Watt’s rapid rise in the NFL has been nothing less than spectacular! A lightly recruited walk-on defensive end at Wisconsin, he is a bonafide superstar who picked up his third Defensive Player Of The Year Award in 2015.
And Watt isn’t the only elite athlete who knows the value of sleep. Usain Bolt became the first man in history to win six Olympic gold medals for sprinting. According to FatigueScience.com, Bolt claimed sleep to be the most important part of his training regimen. “I need to rest and recover for the training I do to be absorbed by my body.” Michael Phelps and Roger Federer average 10-12 hours a night, and Lebron James attribute much of his success to the 12 hours of Z’s he notches each night.
Scientists have long known about the benefits of sleep for overall health. And now scientists can measure what it means to athletic performance, and the results have been jaw-dropping.
According to Fatiguescience.com, sleep helps in these five major areas:
- Reaction time – Maybe the single most important skill in sports. Even just one all-nighter can reduce your reaction time by 300%, so imagine what that sleepover birthday party did to your kid at his soccer game.
- Reduce Injury – In a study of young athletes, the single most common predictor of injury was sleep, even more than hours of practice.
- Longer playing careers – In a study of some MLB players, there was a direct link to the length of career and sleep.
- Better accuracy and faster sprint times – A study using the Stanford men’s basketball team revealed that sleep has a direct correlation to shot accuracy and sprint speed.
- Fewer mental errors – Motivation, focus, and memory are all linked to sleep. The less sleep you have, the more errors occur in all areas of your decision making on the court or field.
Whether your child aims to be the next JJ Watt or just wants to experience success in their sport, helping your child achieve the maximum amount of sleep each night will help them achieve their goals on and off the field.