Want to compete in the Olympics? Get some sleep!

Does lack of sleep affect athletic performanceWhat’s the secret to training and competing like a pro-athlete? The answer is sleep.

A good night’s sleep leads to better performance – physically and mentally. Lack of sleep causes fatigue and poor focus, which could ruin a race or game for an athlete who doesn’t have his or her “head in the game.”

Statistics prove that sleep is an important factor for athletes. Sleep is necessary for endurance, speed, and accuracy. Sleep improves split-second decision-making ability by 4.3 percent, according to Fatigue Science. And for many athletes, split-second decisions can be the difference between a win or a loss.

Sleep is also necessary for recovery. While you’re sleeping, your body is repairing your muscles and the nervous system. Not only is sleep needed so the body can repair itself, but exercise also depletes your body of energy that food and water can’t replenish. The more you exercise the more sleep you’ll need.

How much shut-eye are athletes getting? Athletes need more sleep than the average person. According to Fatigue Science, Lebron James gets 12 hours of sleep per night, and Roger Federer gets 11 to 12 hours.

The more sleep the better for athletes. A study by Cheri D. Mah, of Stanford University, found that additional sleep – about an average of 8.5 hours a night instead of 6.5 – improved the performance of the Cardinal’s basketball team by 13 percent.

The challenge is getting more sleep than normal, especially the night before a big game. If nerves kept you up the night before a triathlon or game, don’t fret. A 20-30 minute power nap improves alertness and should keep you focused to perform at your best.

As Michael Phelps once said, “Eat, sleep, and swim – that’s all I can do.” Whether you’re a regular marathon runner or a recreational bike rider, make sleep part of your daily routine and see the performance improvement.

Be sure to monitor your sleep regularly to make sure you’re staying on the right track. Learn more about the Plex® Sleep Scanner home monitoring sleep system and the free iOS MobileSleepDoc Pro app to see how you can benefit from monitoring your sleep on a regular basis.

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