Sleep in Sports

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The importance of sleep in sports
By: Benjamin R. Ritchie

Most athletes would agree that getting enough sleep before a game is very important. Researchers are discovering that sleep deprivation before a game can have a huge impact of the athletes performance by slowing their glucose metabolism by thirty percent. Glucose and glycogen are the main sources of energy for athletes. Being able store the glucose in the muscles is very important for the athletes endurance and performance. Athletes who are sleep deprived will experience slower storage of glycogen which will cause their energy levels to drain even faster.

Cheri Mah of the stanford sleep disorders clinic and research laboratory has been following sleep patterns and the effects on the athletes performance. One of her experiments was with the Stanford University tennis team. For five weeks each member of the tennis team was to get ten hours of sleep per night. Those who increased their sleep time ran faster sprints and played at the best of their ability. Mah found that getting extra sleep over a couple of weeks improved an athletes performance, mood, and alertness for all athletes.

Sleep is very important for collegiate and professional athletes who have full schedules and often travel for games. Athletes can easily struggle with getting enough sleep due to being so busy through out each day. This slows down the athletes alertness and performance level to a minimum. Many athletes have set personal bests and have broken school and also world records by just getting enough sleep. The reason behind this is because while a person is in what they call deep sleep, is when a growth hormone is released. These hormones stimulate muscle growth and repair body parts such as bones and muscles. The hormones also help burn fat keeping the athlete in top shape. REM sleep also provides energy to both the brain and the body. If sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have time to complete all of the phases needed...
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