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1.18.2012

Group Them Differently

Making Sleep A Habit

To optimize growth, group your athletes not by strength, size, skill, class, or positions, but by sleep habits.

Thomas Edison felt that more work and less sleep was a good thing.  He said, “Personally, I enjoy working about 18 hours a day.  Besides the short catnaps I take each day, I average about four to five hours of sleep per night.”  

Edison had a sleep strategy that worked for him, but he wasn’t an athlete trying to maximize his muscular development.

Sleep is essential for cells, organs and systemic functions and with its absence potentially harmful to our health.  Sleep debt decreases the activity of protein synthesis pathways and increases the activity of degradation pathways.  Sleep deprivation favors the loss of muscle mass and hinders muscle recovery after normal damage induced by exercise.  Lack of sleep slows the rehabilitative process following injury.

When it comes to physical development sleep is an integral part of the equation for skeletal muscle growth.  For athletics exercise scientists agree that most adults need 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night.

A recent study investigating sleep among high school students had some interesting findings.  Approximately 4,000 students were surveyed from Grades 9 to 12, the results indicated the majority of high school students were sleep deprived.

College students may be worse than high school students when it comes to sleep habits. About 30% of college students get 8 hours sleep per night, 20% stay up all night at least once per month, 35% stay up to 3 a.m. once per week, 12% fall asleep in class 3 or 4 times every month.  Indications are that these young adults are not by any means a well rested group.

morning practice

To optimize growth in your athletes interview them about sleep habits.  You will find you have early risers who like to get up and you will find you have night owls.  Organize morning workouts (if morning groups are necessary) around their sleep patterns.  The early risers will periodically have issues of exams and occasional late nights, but they will fair better in morning workouts than those who are used to staying up.  Well thought out groupings will augment team results.  If you value strength Get athletes Sleep to Get them Strong.

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