Can more sleep make you a better athlete?

Published on August 26th, 2011
Can more sleep make you a better athlete?

The extra boost athletes are looking for isn’t in the newest protein concoction, the strictest coach or even the most strenuous training programme. It’s simply in getting a few extra hours of shuteye.

A scientist by the name of Cheri Mah from the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory in America tested a team of football players to see if more slumber time would improve their performance.

They were asked to maintain their current sleep patterns for the first two weeks of the season (most getting less than 8 hours per night). Then, with some accommodations to their daily schedule, they were asked to sleep as much as possible, with a minimum of ten hours per night, for the next eight weeks.

After the testing there were significant changes. The shuttle sprint times went from an average of 4.71 seconds to 4.61 seconds. The study also showed that swimmers who got more sleep were quicker in the water, quicker off the starting block and quicker in their turns.

So here’s a message to the Bokke: be sure to catch enough zzz’s before a game.