How to Train Harder, Recover Faster, Perform Better
When it comes to recovering from hard workouts and the stress of competition, there’s no better treatment than plenty of sleep. While most research has focused on the effects of sleep deprivation, Stanford University took a different approach by studying the benefits of getting more than the average amount of sleep.
Swimming – Stanford researchers started with the men’s and women’s swimming teams and first measured performance of each athlete and their average sleep duration, which was just over 6.5 hours a night. They then asked them all to sleep as much as they could for a period of 6 weeks, with the goal of sleeping 10 hours to remove all sleep debt that’s so common among college students. (Most got to over 8.5 hours.) When they measured again, the researchers noticed significant improvements in speed, reaction times, and turn times. On average they were .15 seconds faster off the block, half a second faster in 15-meter sprints, and had .1 second faster flip turns.
Tennis – Similar testing was done with five members of the women’s tennis team, and they improved serve accuracy 24%, going from an average of 12.6% good first serves per game to 15.61% good first serves.
Football – The seven football players that went through the program were able to shave .10 seconds off of their 40-yard dash.
Basketball – This may have been the most impressive. 11 team members were able to extend their sleep to 10 hours, and besides sprinting up and down the court faster, their free throw and 3-point shooting accuracy improved by over 9%, which was phenomenal. Those results caught the attention of other coaches and elite athletes who are always looking for the slightest competitive edge. Now nearly every professional basketball team prioritizes sleep and employs a sleep consultant. This emphasis on sleep also helps them recover from jet lag as they travel a lot.
Baseball – Good sleep improved split second reaction times by 4.2%, while 2 days of sleep loss can lead to 3-times more lapses in attention and reaction times.
Strength, Endurance & Injuries – Maximum bench press weight dropped 20 pounds after 4 days of reduced sleep, and sleep loss meant 11% shorter time to exhaustion. Lack of sleep is also tied to sports injuries, with tired adolescent athletes 68% more likely to get injured.
Employ a Personal Trainer.
For elite athletes, Intelligent Sleep can serve as your personal trainer for sleep and brain health. We start with a personal assessment and then offer coaching programs using behavior, metabolic and neurosensory methods, as well as vetted products for the body, mind, health and home.