Sleep is a homeostatically controlled behavior resulting in reduced movement and sensory responsiveness (Allada & Siegel 2008). Although the true function of why humans sleep remains unclear, there is no doubt of its importance for human cognitive and physiological function (Fullagar et al. 2015).
Typically, to feel refreshed and energetic upon waking up most adults require approximately 8-hours of sleep (Purves 2009). It is suggested that athletes may even require between 9 and 12-hours of sleep to allow for adequate recovery from training sessions (Bird 2013). Sleep deprivation has many consequences for humans and restricts cognitive function, influences mood, increases daytime tiredness and impairs learning and memory tasks (Mah et al. 2011).
With regards to athletic performance, studies have shown the determinantal effect poor sleep quality can have on physical performance, hindering power, strength and cardiovascular function in addition to impairing psychomotor tasks such as reaction time, decision making and skills requiring precision and accuracy (Bird 2013). Therefore, the aim of this blog is to outline 8 practical tips that a coach can reinforce to athletes, with aims of positively influencing athlete sleep habits.