An athlete can get away with sleep deprivation for one night and still perform well. Though some studies have shown that this one night sleep loss will affect some cognitive functions, as well as, reaction time, anaerobic power tends to remain unaffected. After several nights of sleep deprivation there are statistically significant issues, the athlete’s heart and ventilation rate increase during activity. This has an adverse effect on max VO2. Not good for peak performance nor cooling during competition.
As sleep debt increases over time the problems are exacerbated leading to obvious visible effects on performance. Coaches may become perplexed over the season about a significant drop in an athlete’s ability and address everything but the problem, that is, lack of sleep. The athlete obtaining normal sleep patterns and napping is the answer.
Napping, by the sleep deprived, has been shown to improve reaction time, sprinting times and performance on vigilance tasks. The old post-lunch nap improves alertness and aspects of mental and physical performance of athletes following partial sleep loss.
As an athlete ask yourself this:
1. Do I go to bed and wake up at the same times every day?
2. Do I take daily naps if I fail to get enough sleep at night?
As a coach:
3. Do I allow for sleep as part of the athletic schedule?
4. Do I review the issues of rest and recovery periodically throughout the year?
Sleep to Get and stay Strong.