One Simple Hack To Help Your Child Perform Better In Sports, School, and Life.
Imagine if there was one magical pill, drink, meditation, or exercise that guaranteed your child would feel better and perform better in sports, school, and life. Well, guess what? There is.
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?
Many professional athletes know the secret. In an episode of “Hard knocks” several 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 then shares that he rarely goes out at night and is typically in bed at 7:30 pm. It’s hard to argue, as the now officially retired Watt is considered one of the greatest all-time at his position.
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 attributes much of his success to the 12 hours of Z’s he notches each night.
Without good sleep, it’s nearly impossible to have a positive outcome in any other area. Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston found that teens who don’t get enough sleep are four times as likely to develop major depressive disorders than their peers who do get enough sleep and current studies show that between 60 and 70% of American teens are mild to severely sleep-deprived.
THE EFFECT OF SLEEP ON INJURY PREVENTION
Whether an adolescent gets enough sleep is the strongest single predictor of whether he or she will get injured playing sports – it has more of an influence than hours of practice, number of sports played, strength training regimens, gender, or coaching styles. The majority of muscle repair and growth occurs during sleep when hormones are released. Athletes who sleep on average less than 8 hours per night experience 68% more sports injuries than students who sleep for 8 or more hours. Sleep is all about repair, both mental and physical. The quality and the amount of sleep, to a great extent, determine the effectiveness of recovery. Simply put, when an athlete doesn’t get enough sleep, they are more prone to injury and illness. Testosterone and growth hormone drop so significantly with sleep loss that not only is there a negative effect on tissue healing and recovery, but research indicates that without enough sleep, a day’s training causes muscular atrophy, thereby making an athlete weaker rather than stronger.
THE EFFECT OF SLEEP ON PERFORMANCE
Sleep has the most potential for a positive impact on athletic performance, more than training modifications, coaching, nutrition, or conditioning. Scientists have labeled it “the most potent performance-enhancing activity that we know of.” In other words, there’s nothing that you can do. There’s no drug, there’s no routine, and there’s no food you can eat that’s going to have a bigger impact on your performance scientifically than the sleep you get at night. Sleeping 6 hours or less each night can lead to an 18% reduction in reaction time, and an all-nighter can reduce reaction times by 300%! Whereas adequate sleep (8+ hours) results in fewer mental errors and extended playing careers. A study using the Stanford men’s basketball team revealed that sleep has a direct correlation to shot accuracy and sprint speed.
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 between 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.