It is human nature to occasionally push beyond our limits when reaching for a goal. In the world of sports, it is not only human nature but also required in order to play at the top of your game. While doing this once or twice is ok, repeatedly pushing yourself can lead to fatigue and increased levels of stress and injury. In addition, pushing yourself when you are experiencing a lack of sleep can be incredibly bad for you. You can improve this by setting the right conditions, for example even the best air mattress is nothing compared to a memory foam. Lets take a moment to examine the important role of sleep in sporting events.
Less Sleep Results In Slower Reaction Times
Success in the majority of sports comes down to timing. How quickly can you react against your opponent? When it comes to the extreme levels of physical endurance and stamina required to compete, every little advantage helps. Less sleep does the opposite, burdening the athlete with slower reactions times similar to those experienced by people who are drunk. A single poor night of sleep can ruin a performance. Repeated nights of poor sleep can cause a serious lapse in performance.
Less Sleep Increases The Risk Of Injury For Players
Sports require countless calculations to be made by players responsible for reading what is going on and reacting accordingly. With less sleep then is needed, there is an increased risk of injury for players. Studies have shown that the rate of injury increases the less sleep people get. Whether this is a result of slower reaction times or other causes made worse by a lack of sleep, being tired puts you at additional risk.
Less Sleep Influences Judgment
Several different aspects of sports are influenced by a lack of sleep, including judgment. As mentioned above, a lack of sleep impairs judgment similarly to drinking. Players have to spend more time evaluating the situation before responding, or risk responding in the wrong way. By taking more time to evaluate the situation, players may also miss their opportunity to act.
Less Sleep Provides Less Muscle Recovery
When training or maintaining peak physical fitness, recovery is just as important as training. Sleep is a crucial part of recovery. During sleep, your body goes to work repairing damage and building strength. With a lack of sleep the body is not fully able to heal, reducing your strength in the day to come. While the effects are not that bad with a single lost night of sleep, the effects do get worse over time.
Where Does That Leave Us?
Regardless of the sport, sleep plays a crucial role in how effective a person is. Along with response time, judgment, muscle recovery, and an increased risk of muscle injury, a lack of sleep can cause serious short and long-term problems. In addition, it can exacerbate pre-existing problems that would otherwise not have been an issue. Either way, be good to yourself and your team and make sure you get enough sleep before your next game.