When it comes to training for sports, many youth-athletes recognise the importance of eating well and exercising consistently. But sleep is often overlooked as a factor that can affect your performance and recovery. That’s unfortunate because getting enough quality sleep is critical for your energy, coordination, muscle growth, recovery, and repair, mental focus, ability to manage stress, and academic performance. After all, contrary to common perception, sleep isn’t a passive activity; it’s an active state that leads to repair, recovery, and regeneration for a young athlete’s body and mind.
While the basic recommendation is for teenagers to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night, getting more sleep, 10 hours per night, on a regular basis can help those pursuing sports goals to reach their peak athletic performance.
Besides improving physical and mental energy during practices and games, sleep can improve skills specific to various activities. For instance, logging more snooze time can increase shooting accuracy among basketball players, and the accuracy of serves among tennis players. By contrast, insufficient can harm a athlete’s reaction time, lead to lower exercise tolerance, and a quicker onset of tiredness while playing sports.
Given the demands of practice, travel, and competition schedules, as well as academic responsibilities, youth-athletes are at a considerable risk of not getting enough sleep to meet the needs of their active bodies and minds. Making high-quality sleep a priority is a must.
Some research suggests that sleep deprivation increases levels of stress. Sleep deprivation has also been seen to decrease energy use during physical activity. In short, less sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy, and poor focus at game time. It may also slow recovery post-game.
Whether you’re at the top of your game or in the game for the fun of it, getting the proper amount of sleep is necessary to face the world with your best food forward. Sleep will help you on the road to good fitness, good eating, and good health.
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