Why you should be sleeping like an athlete

By Stephanie Schlaak, Certified Exercise Specialist See Bio

Stephanie Schlaak is a Certified Exercise Specialist. She graduated with a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Alberta in 2008. She obtained her ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist® certification the same year. Stephanie started her career in cardiac rehabilitation, performing fitness tests and counseling patients to minimize their risk factors, improve their level of fitness, and help achieve a healthy lifestyle. She has experience working with clients in group settings and one-on-one to counsel and educate them on exercise programs, adherence to exercise, and progression through their program.

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Whether you’re training for a competition or involved with recreational sports, you can expect to see a decrease in exercise performance if you are selling yourself short on sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends sleeping an average of seven to nine hours a night, but statistics show that adults get less than seven hours, on average. Our lack of sleep is impacting our sports performance in the following ways:

Slowed reaction time

Sleep-deprived individuals are at a greater risk of accidents and potential injury due to a reduced ability to respond quickly to stimuli. Lack of sleep can also impair visual reaction time, which can be the difference between success and failure during a competition. Delays in auditory reaction, such as a delay in hearing a coach or teammate during play or training, can affect tactical and decision-making capabilities, taking away from potential successes.

Lower cognitive performance

Sleep deprivation causes a decrease in alertness and attention, negatively impacting our decision-making capabilities on the field.

Mood disturbances

Depression has also been linked to sleep deficiency. Repeated moderate-intensity exercise may improve mood shortly afterwards, but without proper sleep can cause negative mood disturbances, lower energy levels and fatigue in the long run.

Longer recovery time

Day–to-day recovery is adversely impacted by sleep deprivation. In particular, the storage, conversion, and metabolism of glucose to a useful energy source is decreased. Reduced ability to effectively recover can potentially lead to overtraining syndrome with a small exercise volume or lower exercise intensities, increasing risk of injury or accidents.

Overall, sleep deprivation acts as an additional stress on our body, leading to a negative impact on our sports performance. Be aware of how your sleep levels are impacting you and make adjustments if you are not reaching the necessary seven to nine hours per night.Contact your Medisys kinesiologist as you start building your training program, for ideas on a successful exercise routine.


Stephanie Schlaak is a Certified Exercise Specialist. She graduated with a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Alberta in 2008. She obtained her ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist® certification the same year. Stephanie started her career in cardiac rehabilitation, performing fitness tests and counseling patients to minimize their risk factors, improve their level of fitness, and help achieve a healthy lifestyle. She has experience working with clients in group settings and one-on-one to counsel and educate them on exercise programs, adherence to exercise, and progression through their program.

 

 

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