Take a moment to calculate how many hours you sleep per night. Teenagers need about 9 hours – is that your number? If you sleep less than 9 hours per night, why should you care?
During the various stages of sleep, your heart slows down, your blood pressure drops, and your muscles relax. This provides you with some much needed rest so your cardiovascular system and muscles can repair and rebuild themselves. Sleeping is also when your immune system recovers and regenerates to fight off disease and illness. This is important for everyone - but especially as a high performance athlete if you want to perform at your best and reach your potential.
One important process that occurs while you are sleeping is the release of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). HGH promotes fat breakdown and increases in muscle mass, which allows the body to recover from the stresses that occur during training.
If you are sleep deprived and have less HGH in your system, not only will you restrict your body’s ability to recover while you are sleeping, but you will limit your ability to exercise the next day. So when you sleep your body repairs and heals itself and guess what – you’ll be able to exercise better the next day.
The bottom line: You can’t expect to perform well the next day if you don’t give your body the rest it needs in order to recover.
So whether you don’t get enough sleep because you study late at night, use social media, or have early morning practise, my hope is that, once we reach the end of this component, you will learn how to optimize your sleep habits so you can reach your potential.