More Sleep Improves Athletic Performance

College basketball players became better with added sleep time

(RxWiki News) When it comes to sports and athletic performance, increasing your amount of sleep each night improves how well you will perform. Extra sleep is beneficial to not only speed and overall performance, but also to reaction time, vigor, fatique and mood.

A recent study at Stanford University suggests that adding time to an average nightly sleep total increases sports capabilities in all these areas. Maximing both the amount and quality of sleep is integral to achieving peak performance in all types of levels of athletics.

"Get more sleep for top athletic performance."

Stanford's Sleep Disorders Clinic, led by Cheri Mah, MS, documented the impact of sleep extension on actively competing athletes. For the first two weeks of the study, eleven participating basketball players maintained their previous baseline sleep schedule - an average of less than seven hours per night. Over the following five to seven weeks, the participants obtained as much nocturnal sleep as possible, with a mean total sleep time of nearly 8.5 hours per night.

Objective measurements were taken at every practice during the research to assess changes in performance. Significant improvements were noted in the athletes' speed and shooting accuracy, as well as their levels of daytime sleepiness and self-reported feelings of physical and mental well-being.

"It was interesting to note that sleep extension significantly improved different measures of physical performance in basketball from shooting percentages to sprinting times," said Mah, who has completed previous research on swimmers, tennis and football players, with similar results.

Mah offers tips on improving sleep patterns for athletes that include making sleep a priority during training; extend nightly sleep for several weeks before competition; keep a regular sleep-wake schedule; and take brief 20-30 minute naps during the day.

The study was published in the journal Sleep.

Review Date: 
July 1, 2011