For those who play regular or professional sports, it can be a struggle to get enough rest. But even those who are getting enough sleep will find adding a few extra hours may dramatically enhance performance.
New research by Stanford University focused on studying how getting additional sleep is an advantage to athletes. This was to see if if an athlete gets more sleep than his or her competitors, will it will give them the winning edge?
Just like the rest of us, athletes see a drop in their performance if even just disturbed in their sleep therefore it is essential that athletes normalise their sleeping patterns to maximise the recovery process.
Image: Athlete at starting block -wikipedia
"Sleep is crucial for us to maintain health and function properly, as everyone has experienced; without sleep our performance levels are greatly effected." says the researcher Cheri D. Mah who lead the Stanford study "Without proper sleep, whether in the short or long term, there are substantial effects on our mood, mental and cognitive skills, and motor abilities. Majority research on the effects of sleep on athletes have included the study of sleep deprivation and how strong the effects are."
The Cardinal men's basketball team volunteered to be Mah's study of eleven players who on average slept, just over 6.5 hours a night. Mah's researchers measured their performances on sprint drills, free throws, and three-point shooting. The players were then told to try and sleep as much as they could with a goal of between 8.5-10 hours in bed each night.
The results were startling. By the end of the extra-sleep period, players had improved their free throw shooting by 11.4 percent and their three-point shooting by 13.7 percent. There was an improvement of 0.7 seconds on the 282-foot sprint drill-every single player on the team was quicker than before the study had started.
A 13-percent performance enhancement was simply the result of more sleep.
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