Just about every health expert and doctor in the world agrees that people need to get around 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night to ensure maximum health. Unfortunately, lack of sleep is one of the most prevalent issues in the modern world, and more and more people are getting less sleep in general, but also the quality of the sleep that they are getting is not that good.
For athletes that want to perform at their best, sleep is an extremely important factor. Without good sleep on a consistent basis, it can become almost impossible to keep up with an exercise regime. Let’s look at the top reasons that sleep is so important for athletes wanting to do their best.
It Cleans Toxins
Over the course of the day, the body and the brain produce several toxins as a by-product of the millions of chemical reactions that take place from when they wake up until they go to sleep. These toxins are what make us tired, but they can also slow down our healing, and make it take that much longer for our muscles to repair themselves after a workout. Quality sleep addresses this problem, as this is the time of the day when the brain and the body are scrubbed of this build-up of toxins so that the person feels rested and ready to take on the next day.
Keeps Immunity Strong
Our immune systems are our first line of defence against the various microbes that could potentially make us sick. It’s no coincidence that those that don’t get enough sleep every night tend to be much more prone to getting sick, and any athlete knows that getting the flu or the cold can seriously impede their progress. Therefore it’s so important to get the right amount of sleep consistently – a strong immune system means that sickness occurs that much less often and allows the athlete to continue their exercises as frequently as they want.
When we are deprived of sleep, it causes a number of chemical imbalances around the body, including the dysfunction of the hormones that control our appetite. Those that tend to not get a lot of sleep also generally consume more and will also often aim for unhealthy foods; namely those that consist of refined carbs as the brain attempts to keep the person alert. In fact, research has found that people that don’t get quality sleep every night were 50% more likely to be obese, which is obviously something that no athlete is really aiming for, even if it means pausing AFL premiership betting for the next day.
Tips For Better Sleep
There are plenty of ways to get better sleep. Limiting screen time can be a big help, so turning off all screens an hour before going to bed can help the brain fall asleep naturally. Skipping caffeine is also a good idea, and ideally caffeine should not be consumed at least 6 hours before going to bed.